Monday, May 14, 2012

Re: texts on educational assessment

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent discussion-list post “Re: texts on educational assessment” [Hake (2012)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In an EvalTalk thread “texts on educational assessment,” Teri Lyn Hinds wrote (paraphrasing) “I'm fond of Linda Suskie’s (2009) book Assessing Student Learning: A common sense guide"

I THINK A WORD OF CAUTION IS IN ORDER. Judging from her ASSESS post “Re: pre- post testing in assessment” at [Suskie (2004)], Suskie, like many education specialists, appears to have little use for pre/post testing.

In sharp contrast Peggy Maki, former Director of Assessment at the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), realizes the value of pre/post testing, as evidenced in Chapter 4 “Identifying or Designing Tasks to Assess the Dimensions of Learning” of her excellent book Assessing for Learning: Building a Sustainable Commitment Across the Institution [Maki (2004)].

In “Should We Measure Change? Yes!” [Hake (2011)] at (2.5 MB) I wrote: “Formative pre/post testing is being successfully employed to improve the effectiveness of courses in undergraduate astronomy, biology, chemistry, economics, engineering, geoscience, math, and physics. But such testing is still anathema to many members of the psychology-education-psychometric (PEP) community. I argue that this irrational bias impedes a much needed enhancement of student learning in higher education.”

Fortunately, the importance of the pre/post testing with Concept Inventories has NOT been ignored by the NRC - see e.g., Promising Practices in Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education: Summary of Two Workshops [NRC (2011)] at

To access the complete 14 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles:
Links to SDI Labs:

“Physics educators have led the way in developing and using objective tests to compare student learning gains in different types of courses, and chemists, biologists, and others are now developing similar instruments. These tests provide convincing evidence that students assimilate new knowledge more effectively in courses including active, inquiry-based, and collaborative learning, assisted by information technology, than in traditional courses.”
Wood & Gentile (2003)

REFERENCES [All URL’s shortened by and accessed on 14 May 2012.]
Hake, R.R. 2012. “Re: texts on educational assessment,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 14 May 2012 12:30:04-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are also being transmitted to several discussion list.

Wood, W.B., & J.M. Gentile. 2003. “Teaching in a research context,” Science 302: 1510; 28 November; online to subscribers at A summary is online to all at

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