Skills, Competencies and Knowledge Structures
From its beginning knowledge space theory was developed from a purely behavioristic point of view. It focused on the solution behavior exhibited on the instances of a set of items constituting a knowledge domain. This kind of stimulus-response consideration lead to very successful applications. Knowledge space theory has most effectively been applied especially in educational contexts where there is a curriculum prescribing the content to be covered, allowing for a fairly obvious and more or less complete definition of the relevant knowledge domain. There are, however, good reasons not to limit knowledge space theory to the kind of operationalism that identifies the state of knowledge with the subset of items an individual is capable of solving. The framework offered by knowledge space theory is able to integrate psychological theory by bringing into the picture the underlying cognitive abilities (skills, competencies, . . . ) responsible for the observable behavior. This kind of development may be seen somewhat analogous to traditional mental testing (Falmagne and Doignon, 2011). In this context, psychometric models referring to latent variables are preferred to purely operationalistic approaches, like classical test theory (cf. Borsboom, 2006).
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