Understanding the principles and practices of assessment
1.1 Assessment measures the learner’s progress towards or the completion of, the learning aim and criteria, and can be used at any point during the learning cycle. It can provide information to adapt the delivery to suit the learner’s needs and abilities; a learner may need more help or time on some aspects, or has progressed quicker than planned and requires additional goals. By standardising the assessment process this creates uniformity for all learners.
1.2 There are three main areas of assessment, which are the initial, formative and summative assessment. Initial assessment includes work done prior or during a learner’s induction to the programme. Formative assessment includes any assessment that takes place during the learning programme, i.e. a review of learning objectives or evidence gathered. Summative assessment takes place at the end of a learning programme, measuring to what extent the learning aims and objectives have been achieved.
1.3 An assessor is responsible for ensuring all course assessment is completed accurately and in an agreed time limit. When the assessor has collected evidence, they must ensure that it is sufficient to meet the requirements of the unit, and the standards set by qualification. Evidence must always be; valid, authentic, reliable, current and fair.
1.4 In Foundation Learning, we work to QCF guidelines, assessing qualifications using a credit system which learners earn enough credits towards achieving a full Level 1 Certificate in Progression. I am the Business Administration and Life Skills Tutor; I am responsible for the Business Administration and Pre-Apprenticeship learners. I teach and assess level 1 units; this includes, Communication Skills, Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination.
2.1 By using a wide variety of assessment methods the learner will create a high quality portfolio. The main evidence is usually written i.e. knowledge answers to questions and witness testimonies, visual evidence such as photographs or posters can also be used. These types of assessment are all paper based and can be overwhelming ng to learners with, disabilities, learning difficulties or those who prefer vocational rather than academic training. Assessors need to be aware of equality and diversity and how best to assess each learner individually.
The advancement of technology has really improved the success of these learners and has helped reduce the barriers they face when accessing training. Try using a Dictaphone to record a professional discussion or Q & A sessions; or filming a presentation or practical assessment. This will give the learners ownership of their work while creating an inclusive assessment process.
All assessment types have strengths and limitations. Initial assessment is an invaluable tool for assessing learners start point, enabling the assessor/learner identify the learning achieved at a later date. The limitation is during the execution. Usually we complete initial assessment during induction which helps the vocational tutors have an awareness of levels when planning lessons. Initial assessment is compulsory to fulfil contractual and legal obligations, often learners rush to complete paperwork because they find it boring or unnecessary which can lead to unreliable results. All tutors/assessors should make any learning material interesting and suitable to different learning styles and any special educational needs; take the time to explain the importance of this assessment should improve the reliability and accuracy of the results. Another disadvantage of initial or diagnostic assessment is that it does not include feedback to the learner, meaning it is more of a tool for the assessor. Once feedback comes into the equation, it is then seen as Formative assessment.
This is probably the most used and far-reaching of all assessment methods, as it can be applied infinitely...
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