Conversations On My Journey

May 18, 2009 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment


As I have travelled for the last few weeks I have been asked, in many different ways, how to create valid and reliable assessments.  I refer people to great authors and my mentors but I also take time to explain some of the basics to help folks get started. 

Some of the ‘basics’ quickly resonate with people and they smile and appreciate the direction; at other times I am greeted with blank stares!  I have a guiding principle that I don’t really understand something until I can explain it and the other person can explain it back to me.  Only then do I know that I “get it”  My many conversations around the world have given me experience of when a person “gets it” and when they don’t, regardless of location or cultural background. 

Here are some things that I now “get.” I’ll be happy to share more details as I develop future articles:

  1. Our assessments are not the assessments of our grandfathers. With the aid of high speed, high fidelity, and sophisticated technologies we can deliver and analyze assessments results to yield positive benefits for individuals, groups and society.  We can do so much more with less.
  2. Not all assessments are used for the same purposes.  Most assessments are designed to measure knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities; some have byproducts of improving memory recall and/or changing opinions and attitudes.
  3. Blooms Taxonomy helps people understand distinctions between knowledge, comprehension, and higher levels of thinking.  
  4. It’s now cool to possess knowledge, skills, abilities and healthy attitudes (KSAAs). In the past some people would get on by turning up but not really contributing.  With the recession real contributions are now valued. Unfortunately harvesting KSAA (i.e. studying) is not so cool in cultures of instant gratification, however, our flatter world will surely cause that to change too.
  5. It’s now easy to crowd source learning content. So many people want to contribute their knowledge and experience to make the world a better place and now we have the tools (wikis, blogs, and social networking) to enable this.
  6. Enable learning environments and motivated learners will learn. Edutainment (to educate using entertaining movies, sound and fun interactions) has its place for non-motivated learners. However, when people are motivated to learn, wikis, blogs, social networking, and search can be less expensive and more important than course based instruction.
  7. Seek and ye shall find.  We are entering an era when people who gain clarity on what they want to learn and take responsible for their learning will prosper more than those who don’t. 
  8. Knowing how to accept feedback is a valuable skill. As an imperfect individual I receive lots of feedback and sometimes this is packaged up in a way to help me and sometimes it is ugly. It appears to me that knowing how to find the “diamonds in the rough” is a valuable skill.

And yes, feel free to comment and provide feedback!

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Entry filed under: Assessment, Learning, Professional Life, Soapbox. Tags: , , .

A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives Blooms Taxonomy

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