Strengths and Limitations of Assessment Methods

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Strengths and limitations of different assessment methods

Assessment Method| Strengths| Limitations|
Direct Observation| Allows the assessor to see the candidate in action and may be able to cover several aspects of the qualification during a single session (see also Holistic)The observation can take place while the candidate’s normal work place so there is minimal disruption as they are able to continue to do their job while being assessed.| A fixed date and time must be arranged to suit both the learners and the assessor.Others may need to be consulted i.e. for access arrangements to the workplace.Unless the observation is recorded in some way then there will be no permanent record of the exercise.Candidate may “perform” differently from their norm.Additional Questions will have to be asked to confirm the assessors understanding of the situation| Questions| Questioning can take a number of forms.They can be delivered orally or in written form. Oral questions may suit some candidates better, such as dyslexics.A bank of questions could be devised for mandatory and optional questions which can be used for a number of assessments over time.The candidate can be asked to explain why they did something; this gives them an opportunity to expand on things like procedures, policies or legislation.Questions asked during or after an observation help cover the additional criteria being assessed by explaining why they did something or to clarify things that happened during an observationTypes of questions to use:Open questionsProbing questionsHypothetical questions| Closed question should be avoided as they will elicit a yes or no response.Leading questions should not be used as they will lead the candidate to give an answer that they think the assessor wants to hear, this does give a true reflection of the candidate’s abilities.Types of questions to avoid:Closed questionsLeading questions| Witness Testimony| The testimony given by a reliable witness i.e. colleague, or manager that states that they have seen the learner do something that could not be observed by the assessor.The testimony can be obtained from the witness orally by means of an assessor led interview or discussion. This can be done face to face or on the phone. The assessor could write notes during, or voice record the discussion and transcribe the testimony later, or the witness could write their testimony recording what they have seen the candidate doing.Witness testimonies are a good way of getting evidence of the performance of a candidate that occurred over a period of time, for example a customer complaint. A witness testimony can also be used to confirm a candidate’s statement of an event.| A witness cannot confirm a candidate’s competenceA candidate must not be allowed to write a testimony for a witness and then get them to sign it, as a candidate cannot be an objective judge of their own performance A suitable witness has to be identified by the assessor, not the candidate. Can be time consuming.| Work Products| The assessor can see the final outcome of an activity.They are produced from actual work activities such as reports, appraisals, letters and records that demonstrate the learner has done something. Work products are used to confirm that the candidate follows procedures such as correctly completing the correct form or using the customer data system correctly.| Authenticity needs to be checked. They are never sufficient to be used alone and would need to be presented in conjunction with other evidence such as direct observation or statement| Learner Discussion| Can support observations and explore key aspects of the candidate’s understanding of practice or procedures. Can incorporate questions.Can confirm the authenticity of witness statements.Can cover unusual or rarely occurring situations or scenarios.Can cover restricted or confidential settings.Helps evaluation of successes and failures for future learning points. Where there...
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