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R2C3 Validity: In terms of learning, do the forms of assessment used really measure what they are intended to measure?

Assessing things that are easy to measure is not necessarily the same as assessing things which are...

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Andrew Pollard
3 May 2010

Assessing things that are easy to measure is not necessarily the same as assessing things which are educationally important – but it is tempting to do so none-the-less. In classrooms for example, it is routine to test forms of pupil performance, but much harder to assess deeper understanding. Learning is not always ‘on the surface’, so we have to find insightful ways of investigating and analysing.

 In general, it is easier to assess knowledge and skill than it is to assess understanding and attitudes. The former tend to be more amenable to categoric questions and tests. Understanding and attitudes are likely to be revealed more through dialogue, discussion and demonstration and to require teacher interpretation of the available evidence. Again, to draw out these crucial elements of learning in valid way, a confident pedagogic repertoire is needed. 

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