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A different way of assessing applicants?

I've seen a lot of comments in various places recently from NMs, potential
NMs, and also DDs (new and long-term) about the unpleasant nature of long
blocks of essay questions, in terms of both the boredom factor (answering
long lists of questions isn't everyone's cup of tea) and the fact that they
don't necessarily assess the applicant's ability to *do* anything except
reword chunks of Policy and DevRef.

There's also the fact that reading and commenting on these essays I get back
bores me to tears as an AM, which means I've now got a backlog of these
things to go through, since I've always got a list of more interesting
things that I end up doing instead.

So, I'm thinking of switching my assessment method from primarily quizzing
to mostly activity-based -- that is, asking my applicants to do things
(preferably real-life things for Debian, where possible) and then analysing
their work and making judgment based on that.  This moves me to a more
mentoring role, too, where I can guide and give more concrete feedback to
the applicant.  It also gets more stuff done for Debian, and shows that the
applicant can *do*, not just read.

Several questions for the gathered masses:

* (For other AMs) Has anyone else tried this in their AM activities? 

* (For other AMs) Would other people be interested in NM templates for
	activity-based assessment of applicants?  They'll be pretty
	rough-and-ready at first, but should polish up fairly quickly.
	Do any AMs who have done this kind of thing before have any existing
	examples they would like to share?

* (For FD/DAM) What difficulties do you see in doing the final checks for
	applicants assessed under a scheme of this sort?  In other words,
	what should I make sure I include in my evaluation regime to ensure
	that the end result is useful for your work?

* (For applicants) Does this sound more interesting than the traditional Q&A

I'm planning on trialling this method with one of my applicants (with her
approval) over the next while.  I'll be reporting back here soon thereafter,
hopefully answering at least the first question above myself.  <grin>

- Matt

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