Using a Socratic Wheel for Assessment

Source:  …listed in “Skillful Means” (under “English download” – which is a document)

A Socratic Wheel, also termed ‘Spider Web’, can be used to evaluate and rate one or several elements or alternatives (i.e., current project goals, options to choose from, individual skills, leadership styles, products, events, etc.) on multiple criteria. Also, when criteria remain stable over time, a Wheel can be used as a simple assessment tool to reveal changes in progress or conditions for success/improvement.

One simple application can be for Team development where specific capabilities are assessed on a regular basis to reveal shifts in overall capacities and potential, especially useful when a member joins or leaves a team, or when teams merge or are tasked with collaborating with other teams or stakeholders. A completed Wheel can be as simple as locating ‘where we are now’ and then plotting for ‘where we want to be in x months from now’…then, a conversation can be had around what will be required in order to achieve those aims.

A Wheel approach can be easily applied to assessing/exploring the following:

  • Progress on an individual learning plan or training performance
  • Monitoring criteria for quality control
  • Team development and relational dynamics
  • Leadership and personal performance
  • Comparing past with present conditions to plan for the future
  • Contrasting success/outcomes of one event/project with similar others

These are just a few common examples to consider; you probably are already thinking of some of your own.

The Wheel can be comprised of any number of ‘lines’ (spokes) representing the array of variables/elements/aspects/qualities/skills for assessing. Also, each situation being assessed will require its own ‘unique’ set of rating criteria – best established by the people doing the assessment. Here is a sample of ‘criteria’ for plotting on a Wheel:

A RATING SCALE for Competencies
0  =      No experience / competency
1  =      Very little (have knowledge but no experience)
2  =      Some competence (have some practical experience)
3  =      Moderate competence (enough experience to feel comfortable)
4  =      More than average competence (lots of experience with different aspects)
5  =      Very skilled (lots of experience including teaching)

To get you started, here are two Socratic Wheels assessing 8 variables on Work Performance, a sample and a blank one that you can play with on your own. Download these or, of course, you can simply draw your own. In addition, the Wheel is incorporated into our CAPER>r assessment model here.