Assessment and Evaluation of Developmental Learning: Qualitative Individual Assessment and Evaluation Models

Assessment and Evaluation of Developmental Learning: Qualitative Individual Assessment and Evaluation Models

Assessment and Evaluation of Developmental Learning: Qualitative Individual Assessment and Evaluation Models

Assessment and Evaluation of Developmental Learning: Qualitative Individual Assessment and Evaluation Models

Synopsis

As the technological demands of a rapidly changing society impact the training needs of the industrial sector, mechanisms for identifying learner strengths as well as weaknesses are needed to optimize the training process. In addition, there is a need for processes for evaluating the effectiveness of programs focused on the developmental needs of learners. Traditional measures, such as norm-referenced paradigms, do not meet the criteria established for developmental assessment. This book will provide the technical details needed to construct instruments as well as evaluate programs using a recently developed technique called item response theory, which meets the criteria for developmental assessment.

Excerpt

Educators are facing new kinds of assessment demands generated by new methods for curriculum delivery, changing governmental requirements and a disillusioned public. We no longer assess government officials for proficiency in archery and horse back riding as the Chinese emperors did 4,000 years ago; but, a glance at the Mental Measurement Yearbook (1990) or Tests in Print (1990) shows that a large number of assessment devices are available.

What kinds of assessments are available to meet current educational needs? In what way can educators best use the increasing sophistication of mental measurement? What methodologies are now in use and what kinds of assumptions do they make? In this first chapter, we will begin to examine these questions with a quick look backwards at the development of assessment since ancient China. The focus will be on how broader societal currents shaped assessment philosophy and methods. Next we will look at some special demands developed since the 1960's that educators are dealing with right now. Finally, we will look more closely at the three main methodologies available today: Norm referencing (NR), Criterion referencing (CR) and Item Response models.

The earliest known written tests were administered by the emperor of China in about 2200 B.C. (Dubois, 1965; Lien, 1976; Ruch, 1929). Unlike most other societies at the time, government officials were chosen based upon performance rather than a group of aristocrats. Each official was tested every three years and promoted or dismissed based on the results. At the beginning of the Chan dynasty (1115 B.C.), formal procedures for examining political hopefuls were developed. The special needs for which the tests were designed created special criteria. Candidates were required to display proficiency in the "five basic arts": music, archery, horse riding, writing, and arithmetic. In addition, candidates had to display a working knowledge of the rites and ceremonies of public life. Two areas of assessment had been distinguished: proficiency and knowledge.

Assessment gradually grew more elaborate. In 165 B.C., five additional "basic arts" were added: geography of the empire, civil law, military matters, agriculture . . .

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