The expansion restructuring and refinancing of the tertiary sector that began in the 1990s has meant that universities are severely under-resourced. Classes are not only larger than they were a few years ago but much more diversified in terms of student ability and motivation. Yet market forces demand quality teaching. Teachers have difficulty in maintaining standards let alone improving them. They are stressed.
Teaching and learning take place in a whole system which embraces classroom department and institutional levels. In a poor system in which the components are not necessarily integrated and tuned to support learning only 'academic' students spontaneously use higher-order learning processes. In an integrated system on the other hand all aspects of teaching and assessment are tuned to support high level learning. Constructive alignment (CA) is such a system. It is an approach to curriculum design that optimizes the conditions for quality learning.