Chapter 5. Assessment

Develop Criterion-Referenced Assessment Items

The last step is to develop criterion-referenced assessment items. The development of written test questions is covered in the reference section. While developing written test questions, the instructor should attempt to measure the behaviors described in the criterion objective(s). The questions in the exam for the compression test example should cover all of the areas necessary to give evidence of understanding the procedure. The results of the test (questions missed) identify areas that were not adequately covered.

Performance-based objectives serve as a reference for the development of test items. If the test is the pre-solo knowledge test, the objectives are for the student to understand the regulations, the local area, the aircraft type, and the procedures to be used. The test should measure the studentís knowledge in these specific areas. Individual instructors should develop their own tests to measure the progress of their students. If the test is to measure the readiness of a student to take a knowledge test, it should be based on the objectives of all the lessons the student has received.

Aviation training also involves performance tests for maneuvers or procedures. The flight instructor does not administer the practical test for a pilot certificate, nor does the aviation maintenance instructor administer the oral and practical exam for certification as an aviation maintenance technician (AMT). However, aviation instructors do get involved with the same skill or performance testing that is measured in these tests. Performance testing is desirable for evaluating training that involves an operation, a procedure, or a process. The job of the instructor is to prepare the student to take these tests. Therefore, each element of the practical test should be evaluated prior to sending an applicant for the practical exam.

Practical tests for maintenance technicians and pilots are criterion-referenced tests. The practical tests, defined in the Practical Test Standards (PTS), are criterion referenced because the objective is for all successful applicants to meet the high standards of knowledge, skill, and safety required by the regulations. The purpose of the PTS is to delineate the standards by which FAA inspectors, designated pilot examiners (DPEs), and designated maintenance examiners (DMEs) conduct tests for ratings and certificates. The standards are in accordance with the requirements of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 61, 65, 91, and other FAA publications, including the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) and pertinent advisory circulars and handbooks.

The objective of the PTS is to ensure the certification of pilots and maintenance technicians at a high level of performance and proficiency, consistent with safety. The PTS for aeronautical certificates and ratings include areas of operation and tasks that reflect the requirements of the FAA publications mentioned above. Areas of operation define phases of the practical test arranged in a logical sequence within each standard. They usually begin with preflight preparation and end with postflight procedures. Tasks are titles of knowledge areas, flight procedures, or maneuvers appropriate to an area of operation. Included are references to the applicable regulations or publications. Private pilot applicants are evaluated in all tasks of each area of operation. Flight instructor applicants are evaluated on one or more tasks in each area of operation. In addition, certain tasks are required to be covered and are identified by notes immediately following the area of operation titles.

Since every task in the PTS may be covered on the practical test, the instructor must evaluate all of the tasks before recommending the maintenance technician or pilot applicant for the practical test. While this evaluation is not necessarily formal, it should adhere to criterion-referenced testing.;

Critiques and Oral Assessments

Used in conjunction with either traditional or authentic assessment, the critique is an instructor-to-student assessment. These methods can also be used either individually, or in a classroom setting.

As discussed earlier, the word critique sometimes has a negative connotation, and the instructor needs to avoid using this method as an opportunity to be overly critical of student performance. An effective critique considers good as well as bad performance, the individual parts, relationships of the individual parts, and the overall performance. A critique can and usually should be as varied in content as the performance being evaluated.

A critique may be oral, written, or both. It should come immediately after a studentís performance, while the details of the performance are easy to recall. An instructor may critique any activity a student performs or practices to improve skill, proficiency, and learning. A critique may be conducted privately or before the entire class. A critique presented before the entire class can be beneficial to every student in the classroom, as well as to the student who performed the exercise or assignment. In this case, however, the instructor should avoid embarrassing the student in front of the class.

There are several useful ways to conduct a critique.

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