How will you know when you have achieved your desired outcome?
Be very specific about this. With these indications or clues (we call them “evidence”) in mind, you will be able to monitor your progress. Develop a procedure to ensure that you will detect the evidence as well as counter-evidence. We’ll call this an “evidence procedure.” For example, evidence in a learning situation is typically a test score. The evidence procedure would be the test design and the procedures for giving and grading the test.
Step #1. Determine the goals of the assessment.
Determine the goals of the assessment. (E.g., to determine how well the student has learned a topic.) State them in positive terms. (E.g., to establish a score and grade that accurately reflects the student’s level of learning.) Give examples of ideal performance. (E.g., 100%.)
Step #2. Note the purpose of the procedure.
What are its benefits? That is, why do you need the procedure? (E.g., students who learn Neuro Linguistic Programming concepts can communicate more effectively with other NLP practitioners, and they can learn from the literature and teachers more effectively.)
Step #3. Define the evidence in a concrete way
Define the evidence in a concrete way, for example, as observable behaviors and other outcomes.
How will you know when you have achieved the goal?
(E.g., students who achieve 85% are reasonably conversant with NLP, and fairly well prepared to benefit from teachers and the literature.)
Step #4. Specify what is appropriate for establishing and continuing to carry out the procedure.
Make sure that any instructions or training for the procedure are complete and understandable. (E.g., trainers with at least five years of successful practice with NLP and achieve at least a 90% score.)
Step #5. Develop the timeframes and milestones that indicate progress.
This can include the points at which progress should be assessed and when the goal is expected to be achieved. Indicate what your criteria are for each step you specify. (E.g., a weekly quiz will help us determine how well the student mastered the most recent lessons.)
Step #6. Specify what situations could be troublesome.
For example, what problems might come up for someone attempting to administer the evidence procedure?
This can include resistance and positive intentions that might give rise to resistance. (E.g., a trainer may have time management difficulties and forget to administer the quiz. A deeper look tells the trainer that he or she needs the ego boost that they get from teaching, so they unconsciously avoid the tedium of administering the test. It is a big change from how they did things when they weren’t affiliated with a grade-giving institution.)
Step #7. Test.
Establish times and responsibilities for evaluating the effectiveness of the testing, the teaching, and the materials used. (E.g., at the end of each quarter, trainers will review student satisfaction with an assessment instrument and a discussion.
The trainers will review this at a quarterly staff meeting set aside for improving the program. It will include the opinions gathered from students as well as the opinions of all staff.)