What are you meaningfully changing in your students that cannot be measured?

Filling the pail

I had an interesting recent discussion on Twitter. Someone proposed that there are worthwhile educational objectives that are not susceptible to measurement. In other words, we can change students in a meaningful way but we cannot measure whether that change has taken place. I disagree.


The kinds of qualities that we may wish to change in students are known as ‘constructs’. If a construct can be observed informally then it can be observed systematically. Systematic observation is what we mean by ‘measurement’. However ideologically distasteful you find the word, that’s essentially what it is.

Constructs range from the ability to add two digit numbers or decode regular words, to less tangible qualities such as creativity. It is obvious that we can observe the former but what about the latter?

If creativity is a meaningful construct, and if it is susceptible to educational interventions, then we should be able to…

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