Reimagine Learning

Authentic Assessments

Ben Paris

by Ben Paris on Aug 7, 2018 11:00:00 AM

One of the main objections to traditional approaches to assessment is the claim that the testing experience itself is an inherently flawed way to measure many important skills. For example, wouldn’t it be strange if the only thing you needed to do in order to become a dentist was to pass a multiple choice test? Wouldn’t we want to require prospective dentists to actually perform dental procedures before trusting them with our teeth? How about barbers, or bakers, or nurses, or teachers? In each case, there might be some aspects of the job that can be measured effectively with traditional testing approaches, but those approaches would have to be supplemented with an actual (authentic) display of the skill in question.

Topics: Learning Design, Assessments

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Complex Question Types

Ben Paris

by Ben Paris on Aug 2, 2018 11:00:00 AM

While multiple choice questions and other traditional question types are often very useful, they can feel artificial. When you’re taking them, you can always tell that you’re “taking a test,” and that process always feels different from anything you’d have to do outside of the testing environment. Complex question types address this problem by simulating the kind of task you would have to perform in a realistic scenario. In this way, they make assessment more proximate to the discipline while allowing learners to get instant feedback. For example, complex question types could ask you to:

Topics: Learning Design, Assessments

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Fill-In-The-Blank Questions

Ben Paris

by Ben Paris on Jul 24, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Fill-in-the-blank questions are fundamentally different from multiple choice questions in that the examinee provides his or her own answer. This advantages and disadvantages of this question type spring from this essential feature, because coming up with something by yourself is fundamentally different from choosing one of the options that the test creator provides.

Topics: Learning Design, Assessments

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Matching, Sorting, and Sequencing

Ben Paris

by Ben Paris on Jul 17, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Matching, sorting, and sequencing are worth considering together, because they share the same advantages and disadvantages. Essentially, they are all good item types when used appropriately, but they aren't appropriate in every context.

Topics: Learning Design, Assessments

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Writing Tasks

Ben Paris

by Ben Paris on Jul 10, 2018 11:00:00 AM

The case for including writing tasks in an assessment strategy has some very powerful arguments on its side. For starters, writing is itself a fundamental skill that is important in a wide variety of settings. Written communication is required for virtually every role in the modern economy, and so it makes sense to want to know whether students, colleagues, and job applicants can write effectively.

Topics: Learning Design, Assessments

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Multiple Answer (Select All That Apply) Questions

Ben Paris

by Ben Paris on Jul 3, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Multiple answer (select all that apply) questions share many of the advantages and disadvantages of multiple choice questions, their close cousin. However, instead of asking the learner to select exactly one choice, multiple answer questions ask you to choose all the options that fit the description in the question stem. For example, you could be given a list of numbers and be asked to click on those that are prime, or you could be given a list of animals and be asked to select all of the insects, and so on.

Topics: Learning Design, Assessments

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True/False Questions

Ben Paris

by Ben Paris on Jun 19, 2018 11:00:00 AM

 

True/false questions are really multiple choice questions with two answers: true and false. They tend to get used in low-stakes assessments, to generate class discussion, or because sometimes learning designers want to include questions that are easier to answer. However, they tend not to be used in high-stakes assessment, for these reasons:

Topics: Learning Design, Assessments

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Multiple Choice Questions

Ben Paris

by Ben Paris on Jun 12, 2018 11:00:00 AM

 

By some measures, multiple choice questions are the most popular question type in assessment.They show up everywhere, across disciplines, across ages, in traditional education, in the business world, in certification exams and seemingly everywhere you look. Multiple choice questions aren’t popular with everyone, though. Students typically have a less positive view of them, and they’re subject to criticism from educators, instructional designers and other avenues.

Topics: Learning Design, Assessments

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Assessment Design at Second Avenue Learning

Ben Paris

by Ben Paris on Jun 5, 2018 11:00:00 AM

 

Assessment is measurement, and there are many things worth measuring in learning environments. We want to know what learners know and what they can do so that we can tell whether learning objectives have been achieved and what role learning experiences played in helping people accomplish those objectives.

Topics: Learning Design, Assessments

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Choosing Assessment Item Types

Ben Paris

by Ben Paris on May 23, 2018 11:00:00 AM

 

Writing good assessments is of course a major part of learning design, but before anyone writes any questions, it’s worth putting some thought into deciding which question types you want to include. You may want multiple choice questions, but you might want other item types as well. Or maybe you want something completely different. To make sense of this decision, we’ve constructed this overview of the process of choosing item types, and in subsequent posts we’ll provide an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the most common (and even some of the less common) item types.

Topics: Learning Design, Assessments

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