Ctlls - Principle and Practice of Assessment

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Unit Three: Principle and Practice of Assessment

Theory Assessment

Rationale

Within unit three of principles and practice of assessment, we as students were required to research the following areas: Principles of assessment, Peer and Self Assessment, Feedback and Questioning and Assessment Record Requirements.

Research was completed on the four topics to help increase understanding and background knowledge of the areas. Further examination of these topics would allow me to think about the way in which I teach my students, be able to incorporate the ideas and illustrate the process of teaching and learning using these methods.

During the research, it was intended that we explore the topics given, selecting and analysing material and using it to relate to the specialised area in which we teach.

Initially, we worked as a group to research the principles of assessment which we were then to present back to other students as a micro teaching session. Petty (2004, pg 219) suggests that group work is active and gives students ‘…chance to use the methods, principles and vocabulary that they are being taught.’

Assessment is a method which measures the extent and degree of learning which has taken place within or outside of the classroom. Skills, knowledge and attitudes can be measured against a pre determined standard set by the tutor or examining body of a subject module or qualification. Dictionary.com (2009) defines assessment as ‘...the act of assessing; appraisal; evaluation.’

As Petty (2004) suggests, assessment serves many different purposes. It can grade the attainment of learners, help to select candidates for jobs or courses, contribute to evidence the effectiveness of a course content and tutors abilities and provide a long term goal for learners. Assessment also allows opportunity to adjust teaching to ensure all targets or criteria is being met. However, it has been argued that assessment is unreliable and inaccurate and is a poor tool of predicting a student’s future performance.

There are various types of assessment methods; these include initial diagnostic, formative, summative, norm and criterion referencing. Assessment starts at the very beginning of a student’s academic career. The initial or diagnostic assessment can take on many forms such as an informal chat to an entrance essay or examination. The goal is to attempt to find out as much information as possible about the student. The more information we have on the student, the more we can adapt the learning experience, to suit the learner’s needs. When working with adults with learning disabilities it is crucial that a tutor tries identify the abilities of a student as soon as possible. This is so we can identify their basic literacy and numeracy and as to whether we will have to place extra staff support into the classroom to ensure an inclusive environment.

Often a student and tutor will create an Individual Learning Plan or ILP, which will identify learners needs and support they may require as well as any goals they may have for the future. Initial assessment can also help identify a student’s learning style. Gravells (2008) believes that ‘…a key part of initial assessment is to involve your learners in assessing their own skills and knowledge.’

Formative assessment is continuous and frequent and is a tool used to inform the student and the tutor of student’s progress and whether they are meeting the objectives of the course. This form of assessment provides information and feedback upon which decisions and adaptations can be made and provides students with directions for future learning. Research has shown, (Petty, 2004) that this feedback while you learn has more effect on student achievement than any other factor. It gives students an intrinsic motivation to learn rather than extrinsic, therefore doing something or learning something because they want to not because they have been told they have to. Generally...
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