By R. Angelica Villegas-Mancilla
MODULE 2: PLANNING AND ASSESSING
In this essay I intend to discuss an assessment cycle I normally use in my practice and also analyse and critically evaluate its effectiveness, appropriateness and whether it is conductive to learning. I will use underpinning knowledge of relevant theories of learning and assessing to determine if these types of assessment need any improvements or not and whether they promote inclusivity and equal opportunities. For the purpose of this analysis I would like to describe briefly the teaching context of my work: a basic literacy class for ESOL learners, who are aiming at improving their basic literacy skills. This course is non-accredited and it is an approach to measure learners’ success by recognising and recording progress and learning also known as RARPA. There is neither exam nor qualification at the end of the course. However, learners’ progress is regularly assessed through their work in class and through different assessment methods. The cohort of learners comprises students from China, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkey, Slovakia, South America and Portugal. All
learners are mature students whose age range is between 25 to 60 years old. A very small number of my learners hold jobs (10%), others are jobseekers (70%); the rest are refugees and spouses (20%). Some of them have little experience of formal education in the first language; some others have managed to finish their secondary school. They all have different learning experiences and come from very diverse cultural backgrounds. However, they are all extremely motivated and are eager to learn and develop new skills. This is reflected in their attendance and it is within of 70 to 80 per cent. The group of learners display limited literacy and language abilities; some of them have spiky profiles. However, they are all aware they need to improve their command of English language and in particular their literacy skills. They would like to be able to read and write their own letters, CVs, application forms, bills and so forth. They believe a better knowledge of the language will help them build their confidence and become independent and empowered learners, particularly when dealing with written information. They have also realised better English language and communication skills will certainly enhance their opportunities to find employment. I have selected this programme as I have been teaching this class for over five months and my organisation is a non-profit organisation that provides courses for the community, however we also delivered accredited courses, but I am one of the two teachers in charge of providing basic literacy courses using RARPA. As the programme is a non-accredited course, it is not externally accredited by an Awarding or Examining body I therefore need to follow the requirements for recognising and recording progress and achievement (RARPA). This programme has five processes: “
1. aims-they should be appropriate to the individual or group of learners; 2. initial assessment-this should be used to establish each learner’s starting point; 3. identification of appropriately challenging learning objectives-these should be agreed, negotiated and revised as necessary after formative assessment, and should be appropriate to each learner; 4. recognition and recording of progress and achievement during the programme- this should include assessor feedback, learner reflection and reviews of progress; 5. end of programme-this include summative assessment, learner self- assessment and a review of overall progress and achievement. This should be in relation to the learning objectives and any other outcomes achieved during the programme. “
(Gravells, 2009 Principle and Practice of Assessment in the Life Long Learning).
There is increase pressure from funding bodies to obtain data of the number of learners who are achieving and successful finishing their...
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