Assessment types and their uses: reaction assessments

Posted by Julie Delazyn

To use assessments effectively, it’s important to understand their context and uses within the learning process.

Last week I wrote about needs assessments, and today I’ll explore reaction assessments.

Typical uses:

  • Determining the satisfaction level with a learning or certification experience
  • Gathering opinions from learners about course materials, instructors, learning environments, and so forth
  • Identifying shortcomings of a learning experience in order to help improve it for others
  • Aiding the planning process for revising a course and/or the way in which it is delivered

Types:

  • Level 1 evaluations (as per Donald Kirkpatrick)
  • Course evaluations
  • Smile sheets/ happy sheets
  • Opinion surveys

Stakes: low

Example:
Answers to Question 8, analyzed below, reveal at that respondents feel they have sufficient time for the training they need to do their jobs well. But their answers to Question 9 — indicating that many people had problems with the timing of training courses — prompted their company to revise its training schedule.

For more details about assessments and their uses check out the white paper, Assessments Through the Learning Process. You can download it free here, after login. Another good source for testing and assessment terms is our glossary.

In my last post in this series, I will take a look at summative assessments.

Assessment types and their uses: Formative

Posted by Julie Delazyn

Assessments have many different purposes, and to use them effectively it’s important to understand their context and uses within the learning process.

Last week I wrote about diagnostic assessments, and today I’ll explore formative assessments.

Typical uses:

  • Strengthening memory recall and correcting misconceptions
  • Promoting confidence in one’s knowledge
  • Enhancing learning by directing attention to and creating intrigue about a given subject
  • Measuring learners’ knowledge or skills and telling them how they’re doing
  • Giving learners search and retrieval practice and prescriptive feedback

Types:

  • Quizzes
  • Practice tests and exams
  • Self-assessments

Stakes: low

Example: An instructor gives a quiz to help reassure students that they’re actually learning — or alert them that they are not learning and provide feedback to correct any misconceptions. Students can use this feedback as a study guide to understand where they’re going right and where they’re going wrong. Students also benefit from the search and retrieval practice they’ve had while taking the quiz – which can help them remember the material in the future. Formative assessments give instructors a way to ask students: “Did you get that?” Sometimes, a series of quizzes is used to collect data that contribute to overall grades – but generally, formative assessments serve as check-ups on learners’ understanding and guideposts for further progress.

For a fuller analysis of assessments and their uses check out the white paper, Assessments Through the Learning Process. You can download it free here, after login. Another good source for testing and assessment terms is our glossary.

In the coming weeks I’ll take a look at three remaining assessment types:

  • Needs
  • Reaction
  • Summative

Assessment types and their uses: Diagnostic

Posted by Julie Delazyn

Assessments have many different purposes, and to use them effectively it’s important to understand their context and uses within the learning process. I’ll explore each of these five key assessment types over the next few weeks:

  • Diagnostic
  • Formative
  • Needs
  • Reaction
  • Summative

Let’s start with diagnostic assessments.

Typical uses:

  • Identifying the needs and prior knowledge of participants for the purpose of directing them to the most appropriate learning experience
  • Determining knowledge and identifying skills gaps and needs
  • Placing learners in appropriate courses and tailor instruction to their needs
  • Providing instructors and mentors information on a student’s abilities
  • Giving feedback to participants and providing recommendations for products, services and/or learning activities
  • Setting benchmarks for comparison with post-course tests
  • Analyzing personality traits in order to predict behaviors
  • Creating intrigue about the content of a learning activity, which can in turn actually enhance the learning experience

Types:

  • Pre-tests
  • Placement tests
  • Self-diagnostic tools
  • Personality assessments

Stakes: low/medium

Example: A diagnostic assessment might report that a learner has mastered every competency in using Microsoft Word but can only perform 50 percent of those required to use Excel. The results of the assessment would prescribe a course on Excel. In addition, a diagnostic assessment can help place students within suitable learning experiences by asking questions such as, “Do you prefer instructor-led training or online training?”

For a fuller analysis of assessments and their uses check out the white paper, Assessments Through the Learning Process. You can download it free here, after login. Another good source for testing and assessment terms is our glossary.

Tune in next week for a post on formative assessments.

Defining Assessment Terms: Tools for Getting the Right Results

julie-small1Posted by Julie Chazyn

In creating good, solid surveys, quizzes, test and exams it’s essential to understand what type of assessment will give you appropriate and actionable results.  We believe the ultimate objective of the assessment directly influences how it will be structured. This requires understanding the subtle distinctions that can mean big differences in the quality and outcomes of your assessments.  The language we use in talking about assessments needs to reflect those distinctions.

With that in mind, Questionmark CEO Eric Shepherd recently took some time to update Questionmark’s UK and US glossaries to help people understand different types of assessments.

Some of the terms that have been altered include:

Diagnostic assessment
Personality assessment
Pretest
Psychological assessment
Summative assessment

We hope you will bookmark the glossary and refer back to it often!