An assessment is a diagnostic process that measures an individual’s behaviors, motivators, attitudes and competencies. Assessment tools comprise various instruments and procedures. These tools are largely used in educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and in the corporate world too. The success of designing and developing assessment tools is brought about by using scientific methods to do so.

Step 1

Develop assessment tools with the candidates to be assessed in mind. Different scenarios call for different tools and modes of evaluation. Ensure that the instruments and procedures for assessing are relevant to the audience, the skills and the task that they are being evaluated for.

Step 2

Set benchmarks. According to the "Business Dictionary," a benchmark is a "standard, or a set of standards, used as a point of reference for evaluating performance or level of quality." Take into account all the factors, attributes and competencies that you want to measure and improve on. Ensure that the benchmarks you establish are specific and operational. Operational benchmarks will also help you carry out realistic improvements after the assessment.

Step 3

Establish methods for gathering evidence. Assessment tools are functional only to the extent that they are able to gather cognitive, behavioral and statistical outputs of those being assessed. Consider designing a tool that clearly indicates the competencies, skills, attributes and behaviors of candidates against the benchmarks. These tools may include comprehensive questionnaires, SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis and diagnostic models.

Step 4

Adhere to the principles of assessment, which include the following:

-- Validity: The extent to which evidence gathered can be supported. -- Reliability: Consistency that the tools used for one set of candidates can be used to assess other candidates of the same competencies and generate the same results. -- Flexibility: Allowing the candidates ample time to understand the terms of the assessment. -- Fairness: Criteria should not discriminate against an individual or group of candidate.

Step 5

Establish a method for assessing and evaluating outcomes against the benchmarks. Effective assessment tools should be able to interpret the outcome of the measurements. Depending on the purpose of the assessment, consider using the three major forms of evaluation: goal-based, outcome-based, and process-based.