The Knowledge Survey: a Tool for all Reasons

One of the EVO courses I lurked on the last couple of months was JiTT, Just in Time Teaching. And one of the key points in that course was something called Knowledge Surveys. I’m now collecting ideas and quotations, and listing sources related to JiTT (and other teaching tools) in preparation for the next academic year, which starts in April in this Land of Wa.

Knowledge Surveys: a Tool for All Reasons

Knowledge surveys provide a means to assess changes in specific content learning and intellectual development. More importantly, they promote student learning by improving course organization and planning. For instructors, the tool establishes a high degree of instructional alignment, and, if properly used, can insure employment of all seven “best practices” during the enactment of the course. Beyond increasing success of individual courses, knowledge surveys inform curriculum development to better achieve, improve and document program success.Students take knowledge surveys at the beginning and end of each course. A survey consists of learning objectives framed as questions that test mastery of particular objectives.

Knowledge surveys are not tests: students mark against each item their confidence in answering the question, choosing one out of 3 ratings: very confident, half-confident and not confident.

Here’s an example (will open a PDF file in its own window). This one is a KS for teachers teaching writing. The instructions give a good idea of what a KS is and how it works:

a Knowledge survey for Idaho State University English 102 students: This is a knowledge survey rather than a “test.” There are no right or wrong answers. By completing this survey, both at the beginning and at the end of English-102, students will do the following: be made aware of the goals of the course, be prepared to address the issues that are most relevant to the success fo 102 students, and, be able to evaluate their success in the course in terms of their ability to articulate how they have developed their understanding and competencies aimed at meeting course goals and expectations. Read each statement carefully and then choose a response based on the following instructions: Mark A as reponse to the question if you feel confident that you could address the issue or answer the question completely for test purposes. Mark B as response… if you can truly address or answer at least 50% of it or know precisely where you could quickly (30 minutes or less) get the information. Mark C .. if you can’t address the issue or don7t know the answer or are not confident you could find the information to address or answer it completely.

And here’s another example, this one for ESL tutors.

I’ve tagged this with “Ed Nuhfer” because it is through his article quoted above (Knowledge Surveys, a Tool for All Reasons) that I first heard of Knowledge surveys, tho I don’t know if he actually invented them:

And when you’ve read all those, you can test your knowledge in a knowledge survey on knowledge surveys! (PDF file).

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