2.1 The Strengths and Limitations of Assessment Methods
Selecting Assessment Methods
There is a large variety of assessment methods available for assessing learners’ achievements. These include observation; questioning the learner; examining product evidence; discussion; witness testimony; looking at learner statements; recognising prior learning; simulated environment; skills tests; oral and written examinations; assignments; case studies and projects. Choosing the most appropriate assessment methods is vitally important, to help and support the learner and to ensure the job of the assessor is as straightforward, reliable and problem-free as possible. In selecting methods of assessment the main aim is to choose methods that most effectively assess the objectives of the immediate area of study, whilst considering the broader aims of the programme. For example, the choice of assessment methods may include supporting the development of vocational competencies (such as team skills). There should be a carefully planned assessment strategy across any programme. It is not possible to use only a single assessment method to assess effectively.
Observation is a commonly used assessment method where the assessor observes the learner completing a task. The assessment criteria can be set in advance.
Can be used at any time in the classroom, in the workplace (allowing for collaboration with colleagues, and giving a ‘real’ practice context, if appropriate) or in a simulated learning environment 2.
Reliable, because the assessor can readily observe that the candidate is working independently (or working with others, as appropriate) 3.
Fair, because the assessor can devote a similar amount of time to each candidate 4.
Can be used to easily collect evidence of competence across a wide range of routine work activities 5.
Can be better suited to a candidate who would find it difficult to produce written evidence 6.
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