We are running a hands-on laboratory that is part of a larger electric circuits course. I've been doing a review of our lab manuals and am realizing that there is a large discrepancy between what we are asking students to submit about the lab and what we hope they will learn in the lab.
For example, one of the key skills we want the students to gain in lab 1 is to be able to look at a circuit diagram, identify the physical components on their bench that correspond to the symbols in the diagram, and appropriately wire up the circuit. In the lab manual, we just ask them "what is the voltage across X?" The problem there is that whether it takes them an hour or a minute, or whether a TA gave them excessive help or they did it on their own, is not captured at all in the evaluation. However, asking them to describe their process or something like that often results in vague answers that aren't much help.
It seems to me that we need a way to evaluate the skills as much as the end result. What are some strategies for doing such an evaluation?