How Many Objectives Should I Have?

      One question I frequently see people asking about Standards Based Grading is how many standards or learning objectives are reasonable for a class. I came up with a back of the envelope calculation to give you and idea what the maximum number of learning objectives your course should have.

{Learning\ Objectives} = \frac{\left(Assessments\ per\ week\right)\left(Objectives\ per\ assessment\right)\left(Weeks\ per\ semseter\right)}{\pi\left(Proficiencies\ per\ objective\right)}

Most of the terms in the equation* are self-explanatory, but “proficiencies per objective” is how many times you expect a student to demonstrate proficiency in order to complete a particular learning objective. The factor of pi is thrown in because (1) without that factor the equation gives a number that is too large and (2) every good scientific equation needs a factor of pi in it somewhere.


* The observant reader will note that the units of the above equation don’t work out. This is because “Objectives per assessment” should really be “proficiencies per assessment”

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