On the Roles of External Knowledge Representations in Assessment Design

Robert J Mislevy, John T Behrens, Randy E Bennett, Sarah F Demark, Dennis C Frezzo, Roy Levy, Daniel H Robinson, Daisy Wise Rutstein, Valerie J Shute, Ken Stanley, Fielding I Winters


People use external knowledge representations (EKRs) to identify, depict, transform, store, share, and archive information. Learning how to work with EKRs is central to be-coming proficient in virtually every discipline. As such, EKRs play central roles in cur-riculum, instruction, and assessment. Five key roles of EKRs in educational assessment are described: (1) An assessment is itself an EKR, which makes explicit the knowledge that is valued, ways it is used, and standards of good work. (2) The analysis of any domain in which learning is to be assessed must include the iden-tification and analysis of the EKRs in that domain. (3) Assessment tasks can be structured around the knowledge, relationships, and uses of domain EKRs. (4) "Design EKRs" can be created to organize knowledge about a domain in forms that support the design of assessment. (5) EKRs in the discipline of assessment design can guide and structure the domain analyses (#2), task construction (#3), and the creation and use of design EKRs (#4). The third and fourth roles are discussed and illustrated in greater detail, through the per-spective of an "evidence-centered" assessment design framework that reflects the fifth role. Connections with automated task construction and scoring are highlighted. Ideas are illustrated with two examples: "generate examples" tasks and simulation-based tasks for assessing computer network design and troubleshooting skills.


Design patterns; evidence-centered assessment design; knowledge representation; simulation tasks

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