Number/percent of trainees who have mastered relevant knowledge
Evaluators must define “mastery” in terms specific to a given context. “Mastery” conventionally relates to acquisition of knowledge. (“Competency” involves both knowledge and skills; see next indicator, Number/ percent of trainees competent to provide specific services upon completion of training.)
This indicator is calculated as:
(# of trainees that have mastered knowledge / total # of trainees tested) x 100
Listing of individuals; scoring criteria to define “mastery;” evidence of mastery of knowledge (e.g., scores on tests)
Administrative records (training files); written tests (e.g., pre-and post-tests of accurate, up-to-date knowledge)
This indicator, commonly used to evaluate training, measures the trainees’ ability to retain key information in the short term (during and at the end of training). Low post-test scores reflect inadequacies in the course and/or the inability of trainees to absorb the information. Every training organization that has developed or uses training manuals has identified the knowledge that a category of trainees should acquire on a specific subject. Pre-and post-tests measure this knowledge.
The test results indicate whether the trainee understands certain key points, even though the number and definition of key points will differ by context. The items included in the test should be those most relevant to a particular training exercise, which relate to program performance. If the same questions appear on subsequent tests, this indicator can monitor trends over time within a program and can determine knowledge retention as part of formal training evaluations.
This indicator has two limitations. First, tests lack standardized items. Some training organizations have a list of questions they encourage host country organizations to adopt for testing purposes on a given topic, but some countries opt to design their own questions. This lack of standardization makes it difficult to compare the results from this indicator across countries and even across programs within a given country. Second, the concept of “mastery” is not consistent across settings. For example, in some countries, a passing grade may be 60 percent, whereas in others the required score for passing may be 100 percent. Improved knowledge is only one indication of training effectiveness; by itself, it does not necessarily ensure improved performance.
Despite these limitations, training organizations routinely use this indicator to control the quality of training conducted in connection with their activities.