By Jesse Moyer
Ever since the convening KnowledgeWorks hosted focused on creating an assessment and accountability system that supports competency education, which you can read about here and here, I have been on an assessment bent. Specifically, I have been thinking and reading a lot about how to assess non-cognitive competencies (non-cognitive competencies are also known as disposition, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, or 21st century skills or competencies).
There is a lot to think about when assessing non-cognitive skills. StriveTogether has done some great research around figuring out which of these skills actually matter when it comes to academic achievement. While I think this work is extremely interesting and very worthwhile, I am more interested in how to measure these skills.
That is where a new report from the Asia Society comes in. For someone without an assessment background, like me, this report was really helpful. In addition to outlining which competencies they believe have a direct impact on academic achievement, similar to the StriveTogether report linked above, it provides major themes to consider when attempting to pick an assessment: instructional, practical, and technical. For more detail:
- Formative (informs learning) or summative (validates learning)
- Provides actionable info for teachers
- Useful feedback for students
- Grade/context appropriate
- Meaningful, engaging, authentic for students
- Encourages effective teaching/learning
- Ease of training (for teachers to administer)
- Ease of scoring (for teachers)
- Ease of administration (for teachers)
- Ease of technological implementation (computers)
- Reliability (consistently produce the same score across time, absent more learning)
- Validity (measures what it supposed to measure)
- Fairness (measures across student populations)
Finally, the report provides a great chart containing the different types of assessments (Multiple choice, open response, self-report, performance, portfolio, cross-cutting) and how they should be used.
The more work KnowledgeWorks does around competency education, the more I believe assessing non-cognitive skills will be one of the most important, and difficult, things to accomplish. I look forward to learning, and sharing via this blog, more about it.