ERIC Number: ED459208
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Oct
Assessment and the Adult Learner: Does Authentic Assessment Influence Learning?
Saunders, Nancy G.; Saunders, George A.; Batson, Ted
The purpose of this study was to determine whether a performance-based assessment system newly implemented in a graduate education (Masters of Education) program was related to the development of adult learners' cognitive skills. This assessment system required that learners develop and maintain a professional teaching portfolio showing evidence of the effective application of course knowledge in their P-12 classroom. Course-specific authentic assessments were included in this system, as well as a limited number of traditional assessment pieces. Participants completed a survey during the final class of each of 8 courses, for a total of 2,567 survey responses grouped into 2 sets from June 1998 through May 1999. There were three primary findings. First, clusters or composites of instructional and curricular strategies tended to function together in relation to participants' perceived growth in cognitive skills. The same four composites were identified in each of the two survey sets. The second finding was that the curricular strategies clustered and, as a composite, strongly correlated with participants' perceived growth in cognitive skills. This strong correlation was also evident in both survey sets. The third finding was that, in both survey sets, assessment practices clustered and tended to function together in relation to participants' perceived skill growth. Although the study's results do not strongly support the use of performance-based assessment, both current educational theory and professional common sense do support its use. The survey is attached. (Contains 40 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-Western Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, October 24-27, 2001).