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Assessing Performance (Part 1) – Absolute performance

February 24, 2008

The second the part of conducting OJT is assessing student performance. Sounds simple, but we often forget that when we think assessment, we actually mean comparison. We are either comparing a student to ourself, a co-worker, a ‘model’ or a set of standards. What this essentially means for us is that there are two parts to the equation, or in other words, two ways to get it wrong. The question then is how do we get it right?

To answer this question we consider to two parts separately. First the student.

Student performance

Before we can we can compare the student with a benchmark, we need to establish their ‘absolute’ performance. This is just, ‘what they did’ during the training session. What we must avoid is anything that is tenuous or easily disputed. Any disagreement will impede the evaluation, regardless of who was right. Additionally, if it can be refuted there is a chance that your assessment may be wrong. The only way to ensure that the assessment is accurate is to only use the indisputable – observable behaviours and actual results

Observable behaviours. An observable behaviour is a recordable, repeatable act that the student makes. It is something that they did or something that they said. If It cannot be recorded on a video camera, it is not a behaviour. An action (waving, typing) is a behaviour, a tone of voice (grunt, groan) is a behaviour, speaking a word is a behaviour. A thought or emotion is not.

Results. A result is a measurable output that can be reproduced or recorded by some means. In other words, it is evidence. It can be a score (75% accuracy), an object (annual report) or a response (customer complaint). You cannot measure effort, interest or care. These are not and should not be included as a result (or behaviour for that matter).

Using these two indicators, we have an a factual account of what the student did and what they achieved. The next part is to develop to ‘benchmark’ or measurement to compare the student’s performance against.

Next post: ‘Part 2 – A Question of Standards’

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2008 10:23 pm

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Jason Rakowski

  2. trainingtools permalink
    February 25, 2008 5:24 am


    Thank you for the encouragement. I’ll check out your blog as well.



  3. Mark Cowin permalink
    February 25, 2008 12:17 pm

    Your comments under “Results” rang true for me, particularly “you cannot measure effort, interest or care”. I remember once hearing “participation is not an achievement!”

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