Assessment as a Process of Making Judgements of Learners Knowledge, Skills and Competence Against Set Criteria

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What is an assessment? Alan Rogers (1994, p172) defines assessment as collection of data on which we base our evaluation. According to Reece and Walker (2008, p5) assessment consists of tests and observations that we, as tutor, use to determine how well the students has achieved the objectives. Geoff Petty (2004, p449) writes that “Assessment measures the breadth and depth of learning”. Assessments are used in all areas and domain of everyday life, whether formal or informal, ranging from taking a written or practical driving test to claims for income support or acquiring life insurance on-line. Assessment is used to make a specific educational decision and is the process of evaluating the extent to which participants in education have developed their knowledge, understanding and skills. Assessment, both formative and summative, plays a significant part in the learning experience as it determines progression and enables learners to demonstrate that they have achieved their desired learning outcomes.

There are generally two ways of assessment, formative and summative. According to Ashcroft and Forman-Peck (1994, p54) “Assessment is generally taken to mean a judgement about the progress (formative assessment) or achievement (summative assessment) of a particular student’s learning”. Reece and Walker’s (2008, p323) distinction between formative and summative is one to satisfy the needs of the society (‘summative’ assessment) and the other type of assessment is to help in both teaching and learning (‘formative’ assessment). Formative assessment is the assessment that takes place throughout the course or programme of study and is usually carried out by the assessor during mentoring and training. It provides feedback to both the learner and the assessor on how things are going and how learning can be improved. In contrast summative assessment is assessment of learning and is often used to determine what has been learnt or achieved in terms of acquired...
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