We are in the process of piloting retrospective pre-test surveys for one of our clients. The retrospective pre-test has been shown in research to be the most valid way to capture change as a result of a program or intervention, particularly among young people. It asks participants at the end of the program to rate their own status at the beginning of the program and their current status; so a sample question might be: For each question below, circle your answer. How good are you at composing blog entries?. . . . . . . . .very good-------------adequate--------------poor Before practicing blog entries for two months, . . . . . . . .very good-------------adequate--------------poor how good were you at composing blog entries? The reason that researchers think this is a good model is because it addresses problems found in two other ways of assessing change due to a program or intervention. In the most traditional, and costly, method, in which a survey or test is administered both before and after a program (the pre/post-test method), there is often an inflated sense of accomplishment/ability prior to the intervention. The more people learn, the more likely they are to see how much more there is to learn. Retrospective pre-testing allows individuals to more accurately rate their level of ability. In a second method, people are asked to rate their own change in one question. For example, you ask the participant to tell you whether they've learned "a lot, a little, or not at all" from an educational program. This forces the participant to make too many intellectual steps to answer one question; they have to think about how they are now, how they used to be, and how much change that represents. Retrospective pre-testing avoids the inflated pre-test and the over complicated intellectual process of both of these two methods. We'll let you know how it works for our clients!