Reliability and Validity of Standardized Assessments in Adult Education Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Adult Learning Assessment

Adult learners comprise one of the fastest-growing segments of students today, and adult learners typically have needs that differentiate them from the younger learner. There is already much scholarship devoted to how the adult student learns new information. This understanding of the different learning styles has been taken into consideration in the design of courses and curricula for adult learners.

However, teaching tools are only part of the equation. Educators must also be able to assess if the adult learner is indeed retaining the information at both a critical and analytical level. Thus, in addition to the development of curricula, Cooledge et al. (2000) discussed the need to develop proper assessment tools for adult learners. In particular, Cooledge et al. (2000) focuses on the validity and reliability of portfolio assessment, one of the most popular tools in adult education.

The first part of this article is a review of the different studies that have been conducted regarding portfolio assessment. Most of the articles in this regard that purport to discuss portfolios are nothing more than scoring rubrics. Some studies questioned the validity and fairness of portfolios as a measure of adult learning. Other studies have stated that there is no empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness or reliability of portfolio assessment altogether.

Towards this, Cooledge et al. (2000) suggest a number of steps that could increase the validity, reliability, fairness and ultimately, the effectiveness, of portfolio tools as an a method of assessment. The authors make three suggestions regarding raising the validity of the portfolio tools. First, an educator must determine the "programmatic learning goals." This involves a determination of what types of skills and knowledge the student is being asked to demonstrate. Second, the evaluator must establish proper criteria, the essential components that will go towards assessing the portfolio itself.…

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Works Cited

Coolege, N.., Coolege J., Weihe K.. (2000). Thorny issues of reliability, validity and fairness when evaluating portfolio assessment. Retrieved Oct 30, 2004, at http://www.ahea.org/Thorny_Issues.htm.

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