Task Analysis

Task analysis is all about taking a job or skill and breaking it down 
into chunks and steps. We all do this when we are learning new skills. We take the task step by step and build on success until we have the skill mastered. 

Task analysis can be a very valuable tool in evaluating the process of students who are acquiring new skills. It allows for celebration of steps mastered and a clear understanding of what to teach next. In relation to the Achievement Chart, task analyses can address many of the areas.

Knowledge and understanding can be assessed through the student's recall of the steps, their ability to give examples  or summarize tasks. Students could paraphrase instructions or tell what they are going to do next.

Thinking skills can be demonstrated in the planning that goes into performing the steps in an appropriate order or with the appropriate tool and materials. Students could be given the opportunity to start at a different part of the process to to show their ability to analyze the situation. Tasks and questions can challenge students to:
  • classify
  • compare
  • find
  • point out
  • expand
  • rearrange
  • observe
  • sequence
  • make cause and effect connections
Communication skills can be demonstrated in the student's ability to describe what they are doing or explain to someone else what to do. They also involve evaluating  the student's ability to use the proper terminology and vocabulary when talking about the skills. Communication could also involve drawing, writing, using picture symbols to sequence steps.

Application of skills can be demonstrated by performing the steps that make up the task analysis both in familiar and in novel situations. This could also happen by using novel materials in a familiar context (think grilled cheese made on tortillas with shredded rather than sliced cheese). This is about assessing the student's ability to make connections and apply what they have learned.

When using task analyses to assess student's learning it is important to talk about the steps and have students explain what they are doing and why. This discussion provides insight into the student's learning which turns a simple assessment task into a rich, multi-layered one. 

An assessment and evaluation page with links to task analyses is linked to each of the subject areas covered on this website. Again, if you have developed your own task analyses please share it by following the link below.

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