The perception of competence

[From Chris Cherpas (970207.0930 PT)]
  [re Bruce Abbott (970206.1350 EST)]

I think we can safely assume that when taking a class, most students want to
perceive themselves as understanding the material presented and being able
to demonstrate competence with it when tested. They do _not_ like to
perceive themselves as unable to understand (or worse, incapable of
understanding) the material. The perception of one's level of competence
with the material is what I would label the CV; the reference is being able
to remember and reason with the material to reach correct solutions
(competence), and error is feeling that one is _not_ competent with the
material. Disturbances that tend to induce such error include
self-evaluation ("I don't understand this stuff!") and negative evaluations
of the student's performance from other sources, such as the teacher (e.g.,
getting wrong answers).

I think the _perception of competence_ is a good candidate "focus"
for understanding educational processes via PCT.

Because we assume that the student
is "trying to get it right," we close the loop by allowing the student to
perceive the state of his/her competency with the material (via testing) and
to correct any errors that arise. If the student _isn't_ controlling for
that, then we have a different problem requiring another approach.

I agree. Whether the putative student is interested in perceiving him/herself
as competent and, if so, whether such perceptual references are "aligned" with
those of educators, are questions that are practical to separate from
whether an adaptive program of instruction is relatively effective and
efficient for achieving those goals.

If you are suggesting that the student design the course (to get out of it
what he or she "wants"), I don't think that is practical in most cases. I
wouldn't want to hire an engineer who didn't have to master the key
information and skills necessary to do competent engineering, but only
learned what she wanted to learn.

This is a problem which the "other Bruce" (Gregory) seems to overlook
in his recent posts on PCT and education. Perhaps he will reply.

Deeply flawed,