So what do we mean by assessments anyway?

Posted by John Kleeman

When one person talks about assessments, they might mean something different to someone else. The best definition I’ve seen of assessment is from our CEO, Eric Shepherd: “any systematic method of obtaining evidence by posing questions to draw inferences about the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and other characteristics of people for a specific purpose.”

You may have seen that Eric and I, along with our colleague Brian McNamara, have just published a white paper called Learning and Assessment on SharePoint. As well as describing how assessments can be used in Microsoft SharePoint, it also describes how assessments fit into the learning process. Here is one of the diagrams from the white paper, showing how assessments are used at specific times during the learning process:

Assessments during learning

For each type of the assessment in the diagram, here is what we mean by them:

  • Job Task Analysis – given to those doing a job to harvest data about their activities in order to determine instructional goals and objectives
  • Needs Analysis – given to groups of people to determine the types of learning opportunities that should be made available
  • Pre-Learning Test – given as preparation prior to a formal learning event to promote intrigue, establish benchmarks, and gather data to help the instructor
  • In/As Learning Assessments – given during work and learning experiences to improve memory recall and to correct misconceptions
  • Of Learning Assessments – given to establish what has been learned and whether a person is qualified
  • Course Evaluations – provide feedback to help improve the environment and make it more conducive for learning
  • Slow Forgetting Curve – given to provide retrieval practice, which helps learners strengthen memory and potentially improve skills.

For more information, check out our white paper.

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