Demonstrating observational assessments at the ATP conference

Posted by Jim Farrell

Last week was the 2012 Association of Test Publishers’ Innovations in Testing U.S. Conference. For those of you not familiar with their work, ATP represents providers of tests and assessment tools.

From their website: ATP members are pledged to promote and advance the integrity of assessment services and products and their value to society; and dedicated to the highest level of professionalism and business ethics within the test publishing community.

ATP holds a yearly conference in the US and one in Europe. This was my second visit to an ATP conference and the second time I have had the opportunity to present at the Innovation Showcases there. Think of the showcases session as a school science fair where everyone walks around and ask questions about your “project”. Luckily, I did not have my parents build my project!

I really enjoyed the depth of conversations that went on during the showcases. Everyone had very unique requirements when it comes to testing and assessments, and I loved being able to say, “Yes, we can do that.”

So, what did I present? The title of my showcase was “Lose the Clipboard: Observational Assessments on Mobile Devices”. I showed how, in observational tests, a trainer or manager is presented with questions to “rate” a participant according to predetermined criteria. Participants are then observed performing tasks or procedures that demonstrate skills or abilities. We have all done this in the past, but usually with a clipboard.

Lose the clipboard!

Being able to assess participants in their everyday tasks using mobile technology makes it easier to rate cognitive knowledge or abilities and ensure that candidates demonstrate proficiency in job-related skills, understand safety practices, and adhere to required procedures. Using mobile devices instead of clipboards to deliver these kinds of tests speeds the entire process and automates the reporting of results. I showed my visitors how to share results and feedback with stakeholders using a coaching report. People definitely understood where observational and workplace assessments fit into the learning ecosystem.

The 2013 Innovations in Testing Conference is being held next February in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I highly recommend you attend this conference to learn more about the testing and assessment industry.

(We will be talking about observational assessments as well as other timely topics at the Questionmark Users Conference in New Orleans next week. Online registration ends tomorrow, March 13!)

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