Having embarked on a journey of learning, it
is important that we measure the learning
performance periodically. Traditionally,
end of the academic year, annual exams are held to
measure fitness for promotion to a higher level or the
passing of a course.
This practice is more of a postmortem approach
and often the exam questions do not measure the real
Much reform and innovation has been introduced
in the area of evaluation, particularly in professional
and vocational studies across the world. I am afraid
we have missed much in this area.
Every lesson and session of learning must have
learning objectives and measurable learning outcomes.
At the end of the class, module, course and program
- what will the student be able to do is the most important question. In
a service oriented vocational / professional learning, it is significant to
ask - has there been a knowledge change, a skill change, a behavioural
change? In the field of hospitality education, AHLEI has developed
an excellent certification programme for teachers titled, CHE.
CHE which provides in-depth insight
into evaluation techniques, methods,
Image for representation purpose only
- Self evaluation:
Every student can
create self-administered tests and
measure oneself with regard to
learning achievements. Creating one’s
own quizzes, experiments constantly through evaluation can
raise the bar of performance.
- Peer evaluation: Fellow students can examine one another's
work and critique with a view to stretch and challenge individual
- Instructor-led evaluation: Instructors of courses and programmes
at the design stage itself should create and structure appropriate
evaluation tools and these may take various forms and can be
administered in diverse ways. Blind testing and planned exams are
common. Cumulative weight ages are assigned and gradings are
given for performance. The key is to design the evaluation system
along with the course design. Standard practice of setting exam
question papers at the end of the course is a poor afterthought
and is really invalid.
Lab & real life application testing
These can be by experts, professionals, industry practitioners by
themselves or jointly with academic collaborators. Trade skills and
crafts testing and certifying levels of proficiency are critical to mastering
a profession and achieving competencies.
Technology based testing
Computer based games, simulations and
modelling and many other tailor made evaluations
are very convenient today with advancement of
technology. There are specialised agencies and
programmes that can create very effective tests
based on course contents and learning outcomes.
A third party attestation is possible whereby
learning delivery and learning measurement can
be separated. An online testing to progressively
measure day to day real time learning will make
a student a perpetual learner throughout the
It is important to
recognise that while micro skills, knowledge and competencies are to be
acquired and perfected, of equal importance is to realise that learning
and application is not in silos, instead they are integrated into a perfect
whole. Unless the student has learned and made capable of bringing
together the multitude of elements into a harmonious whole, we are
missing the mark. Through well designed
and structured assignments, projects,
case studies, and real life situations, final
learnings must be measured and certified
as full sized professionals.
The question at the end of the day
is not whether a student has passed or
failed an examination, but can he or she
be certified as a certified professional
with competencies, skills, knowledge
and behavioural attributes to become a
productive employee at a work place from day one adding value to
the organisation making an economic contribution. The need for
any prolonged period of training on the job can be eliminated if the
academic learning is measured and certified with the expectations of
the workplace. The whole mismatch can then be negated.
Mugging for the exam and regurgitating at the exam is not what
is expected by a robust evaluation system. Paper certificates are not
professional certifications. Progressive learning and progressive
evaluation go hand in hand.
There is a tremendous urgent need for a mindset change among Indian
students, teachers and institutions when it comes to implementing
performance based evaluations driven by learning outcomes.
Evaluation is not to be feared, instead should be welcomed.
A respected hospitality educationist, KV Simon likes to be known as an
alumnus of IHM Mumbai.
The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not
necessarily be endorsed by the publication.