Assessment: we’re spoilt for (multi) choice

Long term blog readers will know of my dislike of multi-choice assessments: the last ditch bid of the desperate in the final fifteen minutes of learning design.


There are many ways to assess. Sometimes a little creativity goes a long way.

In an idle five minutes, i’ve sketched out some other approaches to assessment, in four areas: Formal Evaluation, Reflective Assessment, Community Assessment and Real World Assessment. It’s not a definitive list, just something to provoke a conversation.

Formal assessment may include knowledge testing, may even include multi choice… but will include other elements, such as scenario based, where we ask learners to complete interactive scenarios or work through learning games, where they have to make decisions and reflect on their reasoning. These types of assessment test application and reasoning, not just retention.

Formal assessment may also include direct observation of people within workshops and learning spaces.

Reflective assessment is about ‘sense making‘ and building personal application. It may include forms of personal narrative, such as blogging, video diaries, journals and storytelling. Personal narratives can be lined up with co-created group narratives and wider organisational narratives to provide a measure of learning.

Community assessments are completed in social learning spaces: they may include asking people to rate or score participation, for example, voting for the most supportive member, the one who brings the strongest challenges, the one who brings the best original research. It may also include scaffolded social learning case studies, where groups work together to create solutions and we score input and outcomes.

In real world assessment, we are interested in application in your everyday realty: we can look at impact on business metrics and bottom line, direct observation of improvement and live case studies that learners work through ‘in the workplace‘ and report back on. This can lead into action research approaches, where we measure over time, through several cycles, providing baseline and improvement over time.

Just some thoughts: there’s more to assessment than ten questions at the end of the session.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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9 Responses to Assessment: we’re spoilt for (multi) choice

  1. wjryan says:

    Measure what matters, might be the challenge is to focus on what matters up front and invest the time to clearly define what success looks like, the competencies needed to perform, and from there it will be easier to build authentic assessments instead of multiple guess.

  2. benoitdavid says:

    Yes indeed there are many ways to assess… your breakdown really highlights the fact that the most widely used (formal test, right after the learning event) is only a small offering of what is possible.
    It may even be the less valuable, as it has no relation with reality as the others do.
    I like your “impact” grouping: reflective for personal impact, community for group/peers impact, and real world for business impact.

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