I am a lecturer at Lambeth College, Vauxhall Centre, teaching the IMI Awards specification on Motorcycle Engineering, Maintenance and Repair. The IMI is the Sector Skills Council for the retail automotive industry. IMI SSC is also responsible for setting the national occupational standards for the industry. In my present role, I cater to a variety of learners of mixed age, gender, ethnicity and backgrounds seeking to achieve a Level 1, 2, or 3 Certificate or Diploma. My duties include interviews, enrolments, inductions, demonstrations, monitoring, assessments, certifications, course and 1:1 tutorials. I have chosen a Level-3 group studying for a Diploma, as the group’s diversity in culture, knowledge and reception ability is conducive in testing the efficacy, range, types and appropriateness of their assessment programme and in linking its effect to core values and philosophies surrounding the principles of assessment methods.
For the students who meet the criteria to be considered for a place in the course, they must undergo an interview based on a question and answer form and a preliminary test giving a general impression of their literacy and numeracy skills, followed during post-enrolment induction, by a Diagnostics test in maths, english, comprehension and ICT. Together, they should expose any obstacles or barriers the students might face in dealing with the required coursework, as skills in calculations and sifting through term heavy information are important in achieving on the subject. Furthermore, these tests give the students a glimpse of what level of background knowledge will be expected of them which might help them finalize their intentions before the interview or probation cycle is over. As mentioned by H.D. Brown (2001, p.391), the aim of an initial assessment is to place a prospective student in the appropriate level. Most importantly, this form of assessment should indicate “the point at which the student will find a level or class to be…appropriately challenging”. This suggests that if students were not challenged then they would be unable to show potential for a level nor would they display errors pointing to wrong course placements. Placement assessments do not need as much detail and differ from the closely-related diagnostic assessments. Diagnostic testing will follow when the student is placed. This test is used as formative ‘assessment for learning’ in the way that it informs the student and tutor of their current abilities and facilitates the development of schemes of work and alternate methods of testing and as a result identify possible differentiation avenues. In essence, it’s the first step in assessing learners’ needs (Petty, 2009, p.532).
During portfolio development, the students are required to study units, which are either knowledge or skills based and cover a specific topic on m/c systems. These two units create a topic ‘set’ and unless combination is specified on the qualification structure, the ‘set’ for a specific topic must be achieved through the collection of evidence with a practical emphasis given to a workshop or workplace based environment. This evidence constitutes the backbone of their formative and summative assessments. The greatest value of learning in the workplace is that it facilitates an integrated approach. For example, the learner needs to bring understanding, skills and attitudes or values together in solving a problem or executing a task. In order for the students to meet the General Evidence Requirements, they are presented with a list of learning outcomes stipulating what they are expected to know, understand and/or be able to do and the criteria specifying the standards they must meet to show the learning outcomes have been achieved. The assessment of this evidence must show that they meet all of the performance objectives consistently and that they possess all the knowledge required. They must produce evidence resulting from work they have carried out...
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