The Power of Learning-Centered Task Design: An Exercise in the Application of the Variation Principle

Part of the The Enabling Power of Assessment book series (EPAS, volume 1)


Recent developments in educational assessment task design have been stimulated by an increasing interest in aligning assessment tasks, not only on specific curriculum objectives but also on theories of learning. In order to achieve such an alignment, a construct-centered approach to assessment design is needed to identify the cognitive and metacognitive processes underlying performance on a task. In such a context, task design involves creating a family of learning situations that control the cognitive and metacognitive demands of a task to monitor students’ progress. This kind of learning-centered task design enables teachers to observe cognitive processes involved in learning, which would be otherwise impossible or quite difficult to assess, and helps them to provide efficient feedback. This chapter introduces a variety of task models and designs that identify what is required in order to monitor cognitive processes involved in learning, and how the results on such tasks may be interpreted and used to support students’ learning.


Task Design Formative Assessment Student Control Authentic Assessment Instructional Purpose 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OttawaOntarioCanada

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