ERIC Number: ED340767
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Assessing Higher Order Thinking and Communication Skills in College Graduates through Writing.
White, Edward M.
Writing encompasses a wide range of skills, from the mechanics of punctuation and spelling to the systematic or even creative development of ideas. The higher order skills of communication necessarily involve critical thinking and problem solving, and an assessment of the writing of advanced students will be able to encompass these other higher order skills. Three methods of assessing writing now exist: (1) multiple-choice tests; (2) essay examinations; and (3) portfolio assessments. The multiple-choice tests are not valid for many higher order skills, have a damaging effect on instruction, and are associated with racial and ethnic bias. The essay examinations have increased validity, though problematic reliability; are less damaging to instruction; and have been shown to be more fair to minorities. Portfolio assessment has the highest potential validity and the most positive effects on instruction. Although portfolio assessment poses problems in cost and reliability, it promises the most benefits to instruction and the most valid measurement of higher order skills. Any national assessment of writing should be principally or wholly a portfolio assessment. A 12-item list of references is included. Reviews by L. Boehm, J. Chaffee, and P. A. Facione of this position paper are included. (Author/SLD)
Descriptors: Cognitive Measurement, Communication Skills, Critical Thinking, Educational Assessment, Essay Tests, Evaluation Methods, Higher Education, Multiple Choice Tests, National Programs, Performance Based Assessment, Portfolios (Background Materials), Problem Solving, Test Bias, Test Reliability, Test Validity, Testing Problems, Thinking Skills, Writing (Composition), Writing Evaluation
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Center for Education Statistics (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A