Purpose of Assessment

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The primary purpose of assessment is for the learner to provide evidence of learning by demonstrating the understanding of content and achievement of learning outcomes. This gives an insight of their strengths and areas of development. Whereas for teacher, it provides a moment to review their assessment strategies in terms of effectiveness and facilitate progression by giving constructive feedback. It also informs the curriculum board, managers, and relevant staff to evaluate learning programmes for any improvements. Learners are assessed through various stages of learning journey by using variety of methods and strategies. They are usually assessed formatively before or during the course and summatively near or the end of it. Formative assessment provides a continuous source of information about students’ progress, improvement and problems encountered in the learning process. It could be an “Initial Assessment” to determine prior knowledge or “Diagnostic Assessment” to find areas of development and strengths. Feedback is an integral part of it. (NCFOT, 1999) said it “occurs when teachers feed information back to the students in ways that enable the student to learn better, or when students can engage in a similar, self-reflective process”(Principle 4). It has also been supported by several educationists such as Scales (2008 p.179), Black and William (1998: 17) and Reece and Walker (2007 p.325). Formative assessments are not graded which allows flexibility to modify and adjust the teaching practices and reflect the needs and progress of learners as well as motivating them. However, formative assessment in its purist form is seldom used (Brookhart, 1999). I feel that teachers should be given training to as “how” and “when” to employ it successfully. There are variety of methods by which students are assessed formatively such as Accreditation of prior learning (APL), Observation, Oral Questioning, Discussion, Role play, Case study,...
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