Assessing Affective Characteristics in the Schools

Assessing Affective Characteristics in the Schools

Assessing Affective Characteristics in the Schools

Assessing Affective Characteristics in the Schools

Synopsis

The affective realm is a critical, but often forgotten, aspect of schooling. The development of character and the formation of appropriate learning environments rely to a large extent on understanding the affective nature of students. Even when the focus is on cognitive achievement, affect has a role to play. Teachers frequently mention a lack of motivation as a primary reason for students not achieving as well as they should or as well as their teachers would like. Despite the importance of affect, educators rarely make an effort to systematically collect and use information about students' affective characteristics to better understand students and to substantially improve the quality of education they receive. This book's purpose is to provide educators with the knowledge and skills they need to design and select instruments that can be used to gather information about students' affective characteristics. Once valid and reliable information has been gathered, it can be used to aid in understanding and to improve educational quality. The second edition features: * an updated list of affective characteristics (i.e., attitudes, values, interests, self-esteem, self-efficacy, locus of control) * a dual emphasis on selecting and designing affective assessment instruments * an emphasis on multi-scale instruments (i.e., a single instrument with multiple affective scales) * the use of a single small data set to illustrate and foster understanding of key concepts and procedures * a dual emphasis on data about individual students and groups of students * a dual focus on the instrumental value of affective data and the inherent value of affective data (i.e., affect is valuable in and of itself)

Excerpt

In 1894 Alfred Binet was commissioned by the French Ministry Of Education to devise a testing instrument that could be used to identify those students who could not benefit from the French educational system because of their "subnormal" intelligence. The instrument that he and Theodore Simon designed became the model for future intelligence tests in particular and cognitive tests in general.

Although most people in education realize Binet's impact on the field of intelligence testing, few recall much of his thinking at the time he was devising this instrument. Perhaps some examples of this thinking will help the reader understand why a reference to Binet is used to introduce a book dealing with affective characteristics and affective assessment. The following three excerpts are taken from Binet and Simon's (1916) now classic book, The Development of Intelligence in Children:

Our examination of intelligence cannot take account of all [the] qualities, attention, will, regularity, continuity, docility, and courage which play so important a part in school work, and also in after-life; for life is not so much a conflict of intelligence as a combat of character. (p. 256)

We must expect in fact that the children whom we judge the most intelligent, will not always be those who are the most advanced in their studies. An intelligent pupil may be very lazy. We also notice that the lack of intelligence of . . .

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