I have recently been writing assessments for students on productivity-related courses.  This is one of the more difficult exercises in academic life – and, of course, exceedingly important …both for the quality of the qualification involved  –  and  for the future life of the students.

One of the advantages is that it makes you think carefully about what you are testing – and therefore about the content and makeup of the course.  Assessment is in some ways a summary of the course – setting out its main purposes.  The big distinction between different types of course is whether, on successful completion, students should know stuff – or be able to do stuff.  This reflects massively in the forms of assessment you can use. Testing ‘doing’ is much harder than testing ‘knowing’.

I am much more interested in the ‘doing’ – after all I want people to be able to improve productivity, not know about improving productivity in theory.  I think the assessments we use are getting better at testing the ‘doing’ but our situation, and our testing, is complicated because wev are creating online courses – with online assessments.

I will improve – I review student performance on assessments and try to work out where the flaws in the assessment itself have contributed to poor performance

What I am trying to do, of course, is to improve my productivity – not in producing more assessments in the same timescale (though that would be nice) but by improving the quality of the assessments – and thus the value offered to customers(students).

Productivity pops up everywhere, doesn’t it!  If I can;’t improve my own productivity, how can I expect to teach others how to do it?