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The purpose of assessment to be carried out depends on the decisions being made. A typical problem solving model typically involves problem identification, analysis, intervention, implementation and evaluation (Peacock & Ervin, 2009). Analysis is the phase of identification in which variables controlling the problem are identified as a basis for selecting an intervention (Peacock & Ervin, 2009). The main purpose of assessment is to evaluate how much learning has occurred the data used in this context should be global in nature. Mash & Barkley (2009) further established that an appropriate assessment approach has implications for both research and practice in a particular field. Reliable assessment is required for establishing relatively homogeneous subgroups in an effort to determine phenomenology (Mash & Barkley, 2009). The individuals involved should conduct comprehensive assessment for the purpose of formulation and determining the appropriate type of setting.
There are generic basic approaches that are used in identification and analysis of the purpose of assessment. Kubr & Prokopenko (1999) says that any problem identification and analysis should be regarded as organizational based and therefore require purpose of assessment. They further say that in business practice the assessment of needs is in many cases preceded by the finding that the organization concerned is facing problems. Kubr & Prokopenko (1999) indicated that “the identification of these organizational problems is the first step or entry point of purpose of assessment” (p. 59).
In their studies, Mash & Barkley (2009) indicated that “determining the optimal assessment approach is contingent on the goals of the assessment” (p. 226). These goals vary across research as well as across different study settings. Mash & Barkley (2009) say that “the main purpose of the assessment is to determine the most appropriate methods because of for example strength of the methods” (p. 223). It is also highly dependent on the relative balance of sensitivity and specificity or pragmatic concerns. Identification and analysis of purpose of assessment need to be sensitive to context-specific attributes determined by the area of study. Mash & Barkley (2009) indicated that “identification and analysis of assessment depend on the stage of assessment; selection of the most appropriate approach and it may involve delineating a sequence of methods rather specific method or instrument” (p. 223).
Before embarking on effective interventions for internalizing problems, it is important to first to identify and analyze the problem appropriately. Merrell (2008) says that the process of identification is more complex than essentially making a determination regarding whether a particular problem exists. Comprehensive identification and analysis should provide a strong foundation for understanding the problems that have been defined and then developing and monitoring an appropriate plan for intervention (Merrell, 2008). There are three main approaches that can be used in identification and analysis of problems. These include behavior rating scales, self-report instruments, and interviewing techniques.
The potential purposes of assessment go beyond identification and analysis of problems. This process involves four phases. The first one identification involves questions that may need to be answered before any assessment data are actually gathered such as who is the client, what are the problem and the purpose of the assessment. Merrell (2008) says that the second phase data collection involves actually designing the assessment and determining which means should be used to obtain information. The third phase analysis occurs after assessment data are collected and involves specific regarding interpretation of the data and response to the assessment questions. During all these three phases the important thing to consider is that assessment, if planned and implemented with care, can serve many important purposes other than those traditionally considered (Merrell, 2008). When the right approach of identification and analysis is used, the end result can be a solution focused approach that links the problems to the tools for addressing these problems.
The best approach to identification is the use of interviews designed to be completed by those involved in the study (Kelley, Noell & Reitman, 2003). It should be an open ended question regarding the description of the behavior as well as several checklists that allow the informant to provide information about events related to the area of study. It is vital to identify the reasonable expectations, allowable tolerances and the comparison of actual situations against the expectations.
During analysis, the procedures should be built around behavior or consequences chart. Analysis should be done when a targeted behavior is recorded at least three times. Kelley, Noell & Reitman (2003) indicated that analysis should be record information regarding times and situations in which the behavior is most likely and lest likely to occur. The research should consider additional recording if more detailed observational analysis such interval recording is used or the target behavior occurs several times per observation (Kelley, Noell & Reitman, 2003). The main purpose of this phase is to gather and analyze necessary facts in order to solve the problem. During identification and analysis the scope of the data to be collected reflects the scope and purpose of the particular problem solving exercise.
Though researchers, scholars and practitioners are limited by the available time and other constraints, it is likely for them to obtain assessment information using all the possible or preferred methods, sources or settings. Merrell (2008) mentioned that although projective expressive assessment techniques certainly may have their place in assessment, they should not be considered in main assessment method for decision method for decision making purposes because of their questionable technical properties and lack of specific validity evidence.
In conclusion, the best approach to identification and analysis and purpose of assessment should be dependent on the scenario. While there are certain procedures of identification and analysis of the purpose of assessment, the right instruments should be employed in order to obtain the right results. In the final assessment outcome, if contradictions appear, the identification and analysis should be revisited. This alleviates potential future problems which may arise as a result of poor identification and analysis of facts. The quality of initial identification and analysis of a scenario has a profound impact not only on the purpose of assessment. It also affects the ability to translate results into effective action designed to solve the problem.