Unit Three: Principles and practice of assessment
Firstly we had input during classes from our tutor on the categories of concepts and principles of assessments, how to use different types of assessments and some of the strengths and weaknesses of these methods, the role of feedback and questioning in the assessment of learning and the different types of assessment records and their uses. Next we individually researched these topics, to do this firstly I used discussions with my mentor, observations of colleague’s sessions, discussions with my peers and evaluation and reflection of my own teaching sessions. My secondary research consisted of academic books, internet sources, as identified in the bibliography. I chose this approach because it gave me the widest range of resources, varying information and views on the subjects. I could then collate the primary and secondary research to write my précis and form my opinions on the research I had undertaken. The focus of my research was on concepts and principles of assessment, the different types of assessments and how to use these, the different assessment methods available along with their strengths and weaknesses especially peer and self assessment, what is feedback and how to make it effective and reviewing and recording learner progress and achievement. This précis will then enable me to better evaluate my own practice and help me to ensure I undertake the assessment process more effectively in the future.
‘Assessment is about several things at once... It is about reporting on students’ achievements and about teaching them better through expressing to them more clearly the goals or our curricula. It is about measuring student learning; it is about diagnosing misunderstandings in order to help students to learn more effectively. It concerns the quality of the teaching as well as the quality of the learning. Ramsden (2003). Assessment is a regular process that enables both tutors and learners to assess the progress of a learner and make judgements about the learning. These judgements then guide the tutor and learner towards the intended learning outcomes, goals that are to be achieved and any improvements required to obtain the desired qualification. Good practice is to reflect and evaluate after each assessment as this will give you the opportunity to improve in the future. The programme syllabus or qualification handbook is the starting point when planning assessments. These will ‘state how the subject should be assessed, and will give information and guidance in the form of an assessment strategy.’ Petty (2009). If the subject you are teaching is with an official awarding body, they may also have some requirements with regards to assessments that a tutor should be familiar with. When planning assessments you should ensure they are valid, authentic, current, sufficient and reliable (VACSR). This can be done by asking yourself what, when, where, why, who and how questions; for example, does it assess what is in the syllabus? Remember that assessments should never discriminate or exclude any learners and should always allow equality of opportunity.
There are two forms of assessment;
Assessment of Learning – this is basically what the learner has learnt at the moment. It measures knowledge retention and uses grading and/or marks. This is summative assessment. Assessment for Learning (AFL) – this determines learner’s goals/targets to build a program or course. This type of assessment focus more on the gaps in learners knowledge rather than teaching the whole subject and about finding faults and fixing them (monitoring improvement). This is formative assessment. These two forms of assessment are both needed by individual learners and society but I think that AFL is a more valuable tool for the individual learner as it is much more centred on where a learner is in their learning, where they need to go, what is the best way...
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