Principles of Assessment

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Unit 301:
Understanding the principles and practices of assessment

Question 1: Define the key concepts and principles of assessment

We should always consider what the assessment experience of assessment is like for our learners. Considering key principles in the designing of our assessments will keep our views fresh and reflective.

Key principle 1: Put the learner at the heart of the assessment.

The assessment experience should be a motivational one for our learners. It is only by developing the learners understanding of the function of assessments and enabling their development as a learner that a motivational experience is facilitated. Learners often feel detached or on the periphery of assessment because they perceive it as something that is forced upon them rather than a tool that they can use to aid their development. In order to achieve this, assessment needs to be an ongoing process that the learner can take ownership of by highlighting their own areas for development. Subsequently the learner feels a greater sense of autonomy which helps develop confidence in their own ability.

Key principle 2: Assessment needs to provide a view of the whole learner.

Assessment should reflect our objective of developing the whole learner. In order to achieve this, a broader picture should be painted, both for the learner and the assessor. To achieve this we need the learner to draw on experiences that are external to the learning environment. Developing links with the community, peers and family members will enable the learner to make connections between skills that are gained in the classroom and relate them to situations and skills in life. This can only be positive as an increase in motivation and relatedness will inevitably be enjoyed.

Key principle 3: Assessment is integral to teaching and learning.

Embedding assessment in teaching and learning is essential to creating personalised learning. In order for this embedding to be successful, we need to recognise the signs that learning is being achieved and by integrating multi-modal experiences and activities, we can generate a multitude of evidence that learning is taking place. Making assessment the focal point of a session facilitates differentiation and highlights individual learners’ needs and potential pathways to future learning. However, assessment needs to be planned carefully and in detail so that most assessment activities can be learner led with minimal input from the tutor/assessor.

Key principle 4: Assessment includes reliable judgements about how performers are performing related, where appropriate, to national standards.

Linking assessment is essential for consistency, tracking progress and evaluating the impact of the assessments. National standards ensure consistency within the specific educational establishment and across various institutions, which is a minimum entitlement of all learners. Evidence can be shared by tutors and assessors within a department, a college and within an entire sector in order to share best practice and gain confidence. Through national standards, learners have the opportunity to track their progress and compare it with other learners and institutions.

Question 2: Explain the responsibilities of the assessor.

First and foremost, assessors should be the guardians of standards by not comparing the work of one individual to the work of another’s. Using the assessment cycle will add structure to the tutor and enable them to integrate a continuous process of assessment throughout the curriculum.

Stage 1: Assessment design – quality assessments should be planned to give the learners the opportunity to engage with formative tasks. They should also get the chance to undertake summative tasks to demonstrate their learning. The use of realistic, authentic experiences will help energize the learners.

Stage 2: Communication – this phase is where the standards and content of the assessment is communicated...
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