Ongoing Measurement - Training and Development

Instructors use periodic feedback as an effective way to motivate their learners. Whenever possible, they provide some early "pre-test" activity that lets all the learners discover where they are in relation to the ultimate goals. Experienced instructors tend to avoid the word "tests." They point out that this is really a"diagnosis," or a way to "find out what we already know and what we already can do." In this sense, the pre-test may be called a"baseline" or an "index" of the learner's beginning"inventory."

If the same pre-test instrument is used again later in the program, learners receive an ongoing sense of their accomplishments.

If parallel instruments are used for a final (or "terminal") examination, learners have concrete evidence that they have indeed met their learning objectives.

The point is that the instructor must always key the measurement and feedback in with the objectives.

There are instruments for affective as well as cognitive goals. Agree/Disagree questionnaires can show how people have changed their positions on issues central to the program. There are, of course,no "right or wrong" answers in measuring feelings. For example, look at these samples from a questionnaire on womanhood:

Indicate whether you Agree Strongly,Tend to Agree, Have No Opinion, Tend to Disagree, or Disagree Strongly with these statements:

  • Marriage is an institution that primarily benefits males.
  • Job vacancy notices should not mention gender.
  • Women should receive preferential treatment right now as an indemnity for past discrimination.
  • The charge that women are over-emotional is a male smokescreen.

These are not used in feminists 'programs about Women's Liberation; rather, they are used when the learning objectives involve values, communication styles, or mental flexibility—what the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) Competence Study calls"Intellectual Versatility."

Ongoing measurement need not use paper-and-pencil formats. They can be performance tryouts, such as assembling or repairing an instrument, troubleshooting a machine, or performing a mental regimen—such as successive steps in an assertiveness model or a rational problem-solving process. Again, the important thing is to relate the measurement to one of the learning objectives. Thus there is great value in check-sheets on which learners score their own performance on details of the task they are learning to master.

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