In my first year at College I have delivered Entry and Level 2 Motorvehicle Maintenance and with no previous experience of this course assessment was something I leant on the job so to speak. Initially it was games and questions and answers followed by tests which were mainly practical. As the year progressed I then started doing formal practical exercises (observed assessments), Web based exercises and finally multiple choice exam style questions. The Entry level course is assessed purely by portfolio (questions and answers plus job cards) but the Level 2 course has a summative exam element. These are spread over the year and total 5. The two I am going to discuss are the observed assessments and job card creation.
Job card creation
The first assessment method I will discuss is the completion of job cards. As part of the course (either group) the learners all complete practical tasks in the workshop. Indeed this is one of the highlights for them as they are not an academically based group on the whole. Each practical task is designed to reinforce the theory element that was covered in the previous lectures. During the practical we (staff) make sure the learners understand what they are doing and its relevance to the topic in hand. We also check they make notes to help with job card completion. Differentiation is also practised, not in the task itself but the bike they are given to work on. Some are easier than others for given jobs. Once the task has been completed and the workshop cleared up and all tools put away etc. (i.e. there is a break from the original task in hand) they all have to complete a job card to reflect what they have been doing. During this time I keep a close eye on what they are writing and often challenge them on various facts. I found some learners struggled to remember what they had just done even with the help of notes whilst others completed the task almost unaided. During this task the results of assessing learning really became obvious. It was interesting that for the most part it was always the same learners that has the same problems. Over the year they did become better, some more than others. There were some however who had hit their ceiling with what we might consider these very simple tasks. Fortunately the course demands a very formative assessment approach and this final task of completing the job cards is almost a formality and not something you can fail at. The bulk of the course assessment was done actually during the practical task. This was more the case for Entry level learners than the Level 2 learners. Level 2 learners had to complete similar tasks etc. but were slightly better at completing job cards. Again this was not something they could fail at. If it was not right they simply adjusted it until it was.
For the learners this task was not one they relished as almost exclusively they are kinaesthetic learners with an aversion to both reading and writing and often listening. This was consequently quite a hard task for the learners but a necessary one as the course demanded it as evidence of their learning. It did open the opportunity for discussion however and lots of them learnt a lot during these sessions. There was also an element of team work as for the most part they worked in groups doing the workshop tasks. As the year progressed and reflecting on my teaching portfolio, without exception all my learners improved and in some cases gained the confidence and desire to help others which was very...