Discussion: Measures of Learner Success
“I’m calling on our nation’s governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity” (President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, March 10, 2009, Address to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce).
“[Grades are] … an inadequate report of an inaccurate judgment by a biased and variable judge of the extent to which a student has attained an undefined level of mastery of an unknown proportion of an indefinite material” (Dressel, 1976, as cited by Middaugh, 2010, p. 90).
As both quotations suggest, measuring learner success often is challenging. Not only is it essential to make sure the measurement items align with desired learning objectives, it also is important that the type of measurements align with desired learning. Evaluators use two types of measures when assessing learner success—direct and indirect. Direct measures provide evidence directly from the learner such as essays, presentations, tests, and projects. Indirect measures provide evidence based on perception of learning such as graduation rates, surveys, awards, and reputation. As an evaluator, it is important to understand the benefits, limitations, and uses of these measures. In this Discussion, you analyze direct and indirect measures used to assess learner success. Also, you evaluate the validity of different measures used to assess learners.
To prepare for this Discussion, consider the Dressel quote and think about your initial impressions. Think about whether grades are an adequate measure of learner success. Then, select one profession or field (e.g., education, health, corporate, military) and identify two direct measures and one indirect measure used in the profession or field you selected. Next, think about the benefits and limitations of using each direct and indirect measure and whether these are valid measures of learner success.
By Day 3 of Week 4
Post to what extent you agree or disagree with the Dressel quote and why. Include three or more tangible and illustrative examples that support your position regarding grades.
By Day 7 of Week 4
Post a description of the profession or field you selected. Then, explain the two direct measures and one indirect measure you chose for your selected field. Explain the benefits and limitations of each measure and whether they are valid measures of learner success. Provide a rationale to support your explanation including citations to Learning Resources and at least one peer-reviewed journal article.