A critique of the assessment of professional skills

IV Issues in Assessment Design

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IV Issues in Assessment Design

The literature suggests a number of issues that should be considered in the design of assessment.13 Five key criteria are summarised below.14

A Validity

The validity of any assessment is vitally important.15 In this context, validity can be interpreted (at its most basic) to mean that the assessment measures what it purports to measure. This is an important consideration in relation to the design of skills assessments, as any useful measurement of proficiency in skills is likely to be complex and difficult. Such measurement often involves subjective assessment of performance in a context where there may legitimately be a multitude of more-or-less appropriate outcomes rather than one ‘correct’ answer. While this problem is not, of course, restricted to skills assessment, it is a significant issue in this context. Skills assessment is also complicated as a result of the need to extract performance of a particular skill from the substantive context in which it is being performed.

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