2.1 Assessment Tasks
Learner Goals and Needs
According to the government teachers are better qualified than in previous decades1, trained specifically with inclusivity in mind in order to understand learners’ needs and goals. In achieving this aim and taking appropriate action in helping and supporting the learner, teachers must, primarily; assess, evaluate, gain more details and personal background knowledge about the learner, commencing with the initial assessment (IA) and diagnostic assessment (DA). The Learning and Skills Improvement Services (LSIS) states the importance of “trainee teachers to be aware of personal social and cultural factors including attitudes, aspirations and attainment”. (LLUK,2013;4,5). Hillier,Y (2003) The inclusive induction, (Appendix 1b). In my organization the teachers have a new revised and extensive IA for 2013/2014. It has been specifically initiated for attaining a greater quantity and depth of knowledge and information concerning learners’ individual needs and goals. The IA or as it is referred to,”The Screener” contains much more detailed information regarding learners’ prior educational levels. As well as assessing their literacy, numeracy and ICT skills, the IA looks at: work history; future aspirations; opportunities etc. Inclusively learners with disabilities are attended to appropriately where necessary. In short an attempt at a highly inclusive package from the start. In my opinion the revised IA is an extremely positive move for all. The wider range of information attained from the learner at the initial meeting gives the teacher a much better insight into the learners’ needs and goals. It is essential for the teacher to realize what the learner has studied, what their capabilities are and their specific prior learning levels. This information will assist the teacher to direct the learners into the appropriate learning direction; being placed in the appropriate levels and particular programmes e.g.” Every day English” or” English jobseekers” etc., addressing their needs and goals. The aim of the IA is “correct” learners’ placement. This has “official” backing: the Assessors Guide 2013 (Appendix 1c) During the initial induction, the learners are asked if they have been referred or mandated by Jobcentre +. This may have issues for motivation as “conscripts” are not the best learners. Scrivener,J, (2011), (Appendix 1d). The government has introduced this scheme to ensure that the population currently on jobseekers attain the national standards level of literacy, numeracy and ICT skills, essential in obtaining a job. The Citizens Advice Guide (2013) addresses the “Government Employment Scheme”, (Appendix 1e)
The results from these IAs unquestionably give the teacher a broader spectrum of the learners’ initial motivation, basic needs and goals. On reflection the level of participation, for the learners to set their own goals became much clearer and more specific, due to the fact that the IA was to a greater extent, intensive and informative. The learners developed a higher awareness of their abilities and their capabilities as well as recognizing the required skills necessary in achieving these goals. Thus, learners gained the capacity to make specific and appropriate choices as well as the ability to set up a plan of action for achieving these goals, collectively with the teacher’s support and guidance. The DA pack is an in-depth assessment of the learners’ knowledge in reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in order to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses. This assessment commences from the start of the lessons, parts of which need the full attention and participation with the teacher, a “one to one”; assessing the listening and speaking skills. Once all the information is gathered, it is applied and modified into the lesson plan for the individual learners’ needs; therefore called “inclusive learning”. The DA is used to “identify and assess learners”...
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