AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

TAG | instructional design

My name is Laura Plybon. I am currently the Director of Assessment and Instructional Design for Drury University College of Graduate and Continuing Studies in Springfield, Missouri.  In addition to conducting academic assessments for the graduate programs at Drury, I also develop and implement assessment initiatives to improve instructional practices for those adult students who attend classes at our seven campus sites located across southwest Missouri. I also work closely with Tony Bowers, Director of Drury University’s Law Enforcement Academy, on academy assessment initiatives. It has been through this unique partnership that I have seen the value of using evidence-based academic assessment tools in predicting cadet persistence, academic achievement, and academy and career success.

There exists a small — but strong — body of theoretical and applied academic assessment police research.  I have found the theoretical perspectives to be refreshingly practical and applicable.  Hoekstra and Van Sluijs’ (2003) model (Figure 1) provides an excellent police assessment framework by considering the dual importance of personality and related psychological traits and cognitive ability and skills in influencing behavioral competencies of police cadets and officers.

Figure 1. Model from Hoekstra & Van Sluijs (2003)

One must have communication and critical thinking competencies to succeed in the field of law enforcement. Consider Holgersson, Gottschalk, and Dean’s (2008) model below. Cadets must have solid professional knowledge of the multiple components of the criminal justice system and critical thinking competencies to effectively perform in each domain.  Strong reading, writing, and communication skills are furthermore beneficial to the many other aspects of law enforcement, including police interviewing, report writing, and testifying in court.

Hot Tip: Evidence-based academic assessment tools have a place in professional programs, including law enforcement academies.  They are useful in retention initiatives and can provide guidance as to what student support interventions are most needed.

Hot Tip: Use academic assessments in coordination with personality assessments for police academy cadets to understand how psychological traits and academic skills of the cadets interact to influence academy behavior.

Hot Tip: Emphasize reading and writing skills across the curriculum as part of the valued-added educational assessment process of professional programs, especially law enforcement academies.

Rad Resources

Chappell, A.T. (2008). Police academy training: comparing across curricula. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 31(1), 36-56.

De Fruyt, F., Bockstaele, M., Taris, R., & Van Hiel, A. (2006). Police interview competencies: assessment and associated traits. European Journal of Personality, 20, 567-584.

Henson, B., Reuns, B.W., Klahm, C.F., Frank, J. (2010). Do good recruits make good cops? Problems predicting and measuring academy and street-level success. Police Quarterly, 13(1), 5-26.

Holgersson, S., Gottschalk, P., & Dean, G. (2008). Knowledge management in law enforcement: knowledge views for patrolling police officers. International Journal of Police Science and Management, 10(1), 76-88.

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My name is Andrea Velasquez, and I am a doctoral student at Brigham Young University. For the last four years, I have been an instructor of an undergraduate class that teaches pre-service teachers how to use technology effectively in elementary and secondary education settings. One of the principal frameworks that we use to teach pre-service teachers how to distinguish between all the facets of designing effective instruction with technology is TPACK, or Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). This framework states that in any effective technology mediated instruction, technology, pedagogy and content are three components that not only co-exist, but also interact and have an impact on each other. The research examining TPACK can be useful to the field of evaluation by applying it to evaluations of technology-mediated instruction. Distinguishing between these three components- technology, instructional content, and instructional strategies- can help evaluators identify appropriate questions and alleviate the complexity of evaluating e-learning.

Hot Tip: When designing an evaluation of technology-mediated instruction, after determining context and stakeholders, consider technology, pedagogy and content as evaluands. Then, identify criteria and questions for judging each evaluand. Before continuing the evaluation, also identify criteria and questions that take into account how each component impacts the others. These questions should address the compatibility between these components. For example, if an online high school uses video technologies to communicate with students, an evaluation of such a program should take into account the video technologies, the strategies the teacher uses to teach the class (i.e. group work, field experiences, presentations), and the content of the instruction he is teaching. Besides addressing each of these three components, the evaluation should address the relationships that exist between each of these components at each stage of the evaluation process. This approach to evaluation ensures a more holistic evaluation of the technology use in relation to the context and the needs of the students and stakeholders.

Rad Resource: This site is a resource that is maintained by the developers of the TPACK framework. It has updated research articles and many other resources for understanding the practical applications of the framework

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Want to learn more from Andrea? She’ll be presenting as part of the Evaluation 2010 Conference Program, November 10-13 in San Antonio.

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