Observing your students' use of technology in class is a powerful way to obtain performance information, especially when it's in the context of learning. Observational assessment can be particularly useful when measuring the higher-order thinking skills that are components of several of the NETS•S, such as, [Students use productivity tools to collaborate on constructing technology-enhanced models, preparing publications, and producing other creative works] and [Students employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.]
Observational assessments that are reliable and scalable can also be resourceintensive. They require the involvement of skilled observers who must be trained to analyze and report on classroom behavior in a consistent manner. A trained observer can effectively determine a student's skill level with software, such as a spreadsheet program, by observing and evaluating the student's ability to create a worksheet based on specified instructions. However, such [hard] skills may be more efficiently measured with an automated, performance-based assessment that's scored by computer.