Measures of Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Competence

As is the case with interpersonal skills, many of the existing instruments for the measurement of intrapersonal skills have been designed for research and theory development purposes and thus have the same limitations for large-scale educational uses as the instruments for measuring interpersonal skills. These instruments include surveys (self-reports and informant reports), situational judgment tests, and behavioral observations. As with the assessment of interpersonal competencies, it is possible that evidence of intrapersonal competencies could be elicited from the process and products of student work on suitably designed complex tasks. For example, project- or problem-based performance assessments theoretically could be designed to include opportunities for students to demonstrate metacognitive strategies or persistence in the face of obstacles. Student products could be systematically observed or scored for evidence of the targeted competencies, and then these scores could be counted in student grades or scores on end-of-year accountability assessment. To date, however, strong design methodologies, interpretive frameworks and approaches to assuring the score reliability, validity, and fairness have not been developed for such project- or problem-based performance assessments.

There are few well-established practical assessments for interpersonal competencies that are suitable for use in schools, with the exception of tests designed to measure those skills related to formal written and oral communication. Some large-scale measures of collaboration were developed as part of performance assessments during the 1990s, but the technical quality of such measures was never firmly established. The development of those assessments revealed an essential tension between the nature of group work and the need to assign valid scores to individual students. Today there are examples of teacher-developed assessments of teamwork and collaboration being used in classrooms, but technical details are sketchy.

Most well-established instruments for measuring interpersonal competencies have been developed for research and theory-building or for employee selection purposes, rather than for use in schools. These instruments tend to be one of four types: surveys (self-reports and informant reports), social network analysis, situational judgment tests, or behavioral observations (Bedwell, Salas, and Fiore, 2011). Potential problems arise when applying any of these methods for large-scale educational assessment, to which stakes are often attached. Stakes are high when significant positive or negative consequences are applied to individuals or organizations based on their test performance, consequences such as high school graduation, grade-to-grade promotion, specific rewards or penalties, or placement into special programs.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement