Formative Assessment and Certification in Lifelong Learning with Cognitive and Metacognitive Measurements

Formative Assessment and Certification in Lifelong Learning with Cognitive and Metacognitive Measurements

Edson P. Pimentel (Federal University of ABC, Santo André, SP, Brazil), Marcio Porto Feitosa (Mackenzie P. University, São Paulo, SP, Brazil) and Nizam Omar (Mackenzie P. University, São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-783-8.ch521

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Introduction

The rapid technological development and the growing changes in the profiles of professionals required to act in any area, in particular the area of IT, have taken people to seek ever more new capacities, by the other side Educational Institutions have sought to offer a lot of different types of courses and modes of learning for the maintenance and improvement of skill levels of these professionals called Longlife Learning.

Evaluate people, choosing training or its complement to obtain a good job placement involves many complexities. The combination of factors is very large, resulting in a number of personal profiles, almost infinite, and very difficult to compare.

The assessment process plays an important role in producing information that can help students and professionals, parents, teachers and educational administrators to know and deal better with the learning gaps. Teachers and the Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) can use this information to adapt the instruction to the student’s learning needs and difficulties and to work as guidelines to his/her formation.

The Assessment Reform Group (1999) based on their research stands that successful learning occurs when learners have ownership of their learning; when they understand the goals they are aiming for; when, crucially, they are motivated and have the skills to achieve success. Not only are these essential features of effective day-to-day learning in the classroom, they are key ingredients of successful Lifelong Learning.

Another important aspect in the learning process relates to the student’s metacognitive abilities, i.e., the process of reflecting about the own knowledge which Flavell (1979) called metacognition. Knowledge about knowledge itself is very important to the learning with quality.

Many teachers rely on a traditional, pre-test and pos-test design to document student progress as showed by Shepard (2001). Pretest results are used to establish each students’ achievement level or location but are typically not used to gain insight into the nature of student’s understanding, e.g., when a problem is missed, it is not known what partial knowledge or competing conception is at work. Moreover, to develop students’ metacognitive knowledge about what helps in their own learning, there might be explicit discussion of both the facilitating and inhibiting effects of background knowledge.

The ongoing assessment that aims to diagnose and to improve the learning instead of merely classify the students is basic in distance learning education to increase the adaptability of the systems and the personalization of the education, increasing the motivation and reducing the evasion rate, besides increasing the quality and productivity of the learning. Moreover, it can help to minimize the problems of credibility lack on who effectively took the assessment, allowing monitoring the evolution of the learning instead of having only one measure at the end of the course. In distance learning education the majority of computational environments involves some kind of ongoing student assessment, in which observation is based on documentation of the student’s interactions with the environment as showed by Silva and Vieira (2001).

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