Each year, thousands of prospective developers take their first steps into the world of development. Equipped with a laptop and buckets of enthusiasm, they spend countless hours learning and honing their craft.
But measuring & verifying their skill development is a real challenge. A host of amazing e-learning platforms have emerged in recent years such as Codeacademy, Udemy, Coursera, Pluralsight…
And while these platforms are a great way to learn & absorb content, they’re not necessarily the best way accurately assess comprehension and application of new learning. And that’s a bad thing for those developers and the 60% of hiring managers who identify evaluating skills as their number one challenge.
It’s all too common to see reviews like this:
Here’s a look at why measuring understanding and comprehension is so important, why these platforms often fail, and what those platforms can do to improve their effectiveness for developers.
The Importance of Measuring Understanding
Assessments are much more than a score that serves as a pat on the back or a reminder to study harder. They’re absolutely essential to a developer in training. Here’s why.
An Important Tool to Focus Attention
Learning a language is a collection of skills. A person has to learn to read, write, speak, and listen. Likewise, a developer has to learn a range of skills when cultivating their knowledge.
They have to learn to code but they must also learn how to explain concepts, work alongside other developers, read code written by strangers, solve problems, organize themselves, work independently… And much more!
The right assessments can help to orient a developer and open their eyes to the skills and abilities they need to focus on. Rather than just asking a developer to write code that results in a predicted outcome, proper assessments can challenge a developer to grow in the right ways.
Truly Honing Skills
Intelligent assessments can really help a developer to take their abilities to the next level. A well-developed task is a great way to have a developer firing on all cylinders and thinking about problems in new ways.
Code Pilot’s Intelligent Scoring Engine can measure how well a developer understands a concept by measuring hundreds of data points related to their solutioning process.
Demonstrating Comprehension & Competency for Employers
Many potential employers integrate assessments and tests into their hiring processes. A familiarity with them can really help developers to feel comfortable and perform well. For the best results they should be able to tackle a range of tests by formulating a game plan, evaluating possible approaches, and executing the code.
An Evaluation of Progress
Accurate and in-depth assessments can help developers to accurately measure their progress, see what they have learned, and understand what type of level they currently have. Regular assessment is therefore an essential tool that points developers in the right direction and gives them the encouragement that they need to move forward.
Why These Platforms Fail At Assessing Developers
While these platforms do a remarkable job of presenting content in a digestible and accessible way, they all too often fall short when it comes to assessing and verifying learned skills.
But why? They are clearly built by talented developers who have a great understanding of the necessary content and the way that it should be taught.
It comes down to core business. It’s incredibly difficult to build an automated platform that can do both deliver content and verify skill very well.
All too often developers are asked to simply complete small sections of code and take selected-response type assessments. Selected-Response type assessments are easy to create, but don’t accurately assess comprehension and application of new learning because the respondent is not required to create a solution but merely select a pre-existing one. These types of tests require small amounts of effort from developers, encouraging them to continue learning with the platform.
This poor level of assessment doesn’t really challenge developers and it can lead to some reality shocks when they attempt assessments or whiteboard exercises during an interview process.
How They Can Improve
We believe that rather than investing heavily in improving their assessment & verification capabilities, these platforms should continue to create and deliver world-class content.
Key partnerships and integrations could help these platforms to bring education and assessment together effectively. If developers have a place to learn while also showcasing relevant and impressive assessment scores, it could become a very powerful place indeed while benefiting developers and employers alike.
Incremental assessments should of course be offered as a teaching aid, but large-scale assessment that is intended to orient developers and assist hiring parties should be a specialist activity reserved for those companies which have the time and resources to apply to it.
Code Pilot is an instrumented assessment platform that integrates learning content, a live coding environment and an intelligent scoring engine to produce a “codability” score that describes how well a developer understands and practices a technical skill.
Interested partnerships email firstname.lastname@example.org