Learners are sometimes assessed through performance, depending on the nature of the task. This is the kind of assessment in which the teacher observes and makes a judgement about the learners’ demonstration of a skill or competency in creating a product, constructing a response or making a presentation.
At times the performance task is so real such that it’s like what is encountered in real world. Such kind of performance is called authentic performance and it emphasizes application of skills. In conducting performance tasks, the learning goals, standards and assessment procedures are clearly spelt out so that learners understand what they are supposed to learn.
The assessment of performance tasks is based on the processes or products or both. Process assessment involves the evaluation of approaches, methods, and techniques employed during the conduct of a task whereas product assessment involves the evaluation of the final product that learners create.
In most cases, the two are always assessed to complement each other or in situations where one cannot be without the other. In tertiary institutions authentic performance is specifically offered in the form of internship and the marks contribute towards grading. The assessment involves both the technical/hard skills and the soft/life/peoples skills. We will discuss the later in our next article.
Performance assessment in the workplace is referred to as performance appraisal, review or evaluation. For appraisal to be valid, it should be based on the agreed employee’s objectives. Its reliability depends on multiple appraisals spread throughout the year, using multiple appraisers.
These multiple appraisers include the supervisor, employee; co-workers, and the mediator. Because of that, the average score tends to mirror the learners’ abilities better. The score the employee gets at the beginning of the year should carry the same weight as the score at the end of the year. Employee’s appraisal focuses on what the employee is doing right before any criticism is given.
Some employees’ jobs are by nature process-based with little or no product. For example, the driver’s work involves more of processes than the product. Thus it is logical to appraise the driver during the process of driving rather than wait till the end of the year. Appraisal is done using a detailed scoring rubrics, with clear and transparent expression of requirements. The scoring rubric could be holistic, which appraises the overall performance of an employee, or analytic, which breaks down the appraisal into separate scores to provide specific diagnostic information.
Because every employee contributes to the overall organisation’s productivity and the bottom line, the aim of appraisal is therefore solely for the accomplishment of that. Using properly crafted appraisal instruments should enable the organisation to realise its vision. However, most of the time, organisations’ management sacrifices that aim either by engaging consultants without necessary psychometric skills or by resorting to appraising what is easy for purposes of compliance.
Such sacrifice happens when the role of appraisal in raising productivity and subsequently the bottom line is misunderstood and not aligned. As a consequence, the greatest impediment to achieving the organisation’s vision is none other than appraisals.
Underscoring the importance of effective appraisal, one author wrote, ‘In a highly successful organization, workers are responsible and seek ways to do even better. They can’t wait to go to work and work until the job is done. They are not driven by clocks but want to perform well because it is the right thing to do. They are self-motivated, and the only concern the CEO has is to be sure employees don’t spend all their time on the job and ignore their families and personal needs’.
Yes, it’s possible!