Understanding the Principles and Practices of Assessment
Assessment is the process of judging a learner’s skills and knowledge within the work place or training environment, set against the National Occupational Standards. (NOS) These standards reflect best practice in the particular industry. Learners will be assessed as either competent or not yet competent and their evidence will be judged as sufficient or insufficient for them to have reached these standards. The assessor will work closely with the learner and work towards a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Note - NVQs in the UK are now progressively being replaced with the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) NVQ’s are typically arranged in levels which are structured into units - each unit carries a number of credits, they are competency based - i.e. they require the demonstration of abilities to perform a standard of job, both in skills and an understanding of what the learner does and why. Learners can undertake an NVQ at any time, they will be required to attend an initial induction session within which the learner will choose units to work on. Each unit covers a general area of work and carries a certain number of credits and outcomes. Learners are required to complete a number of mandatory units and then optional units are chosen to achieve the required number of credits. Learners will have regular meetings in the workplace, with their assessor to discuss evidence criteria, progress and set targets.
The Assessment Process
The assessment process can be broken down into the following sections :- 1 - Recruitment, induction & initial assessment
Once the learner is recruited and inducted into the programme an Initial assessment is carried out. This involves the identification and collection of a wide range of information to enable the assessor to develop an effective, efficient, personalised and positive training programme for the learner. The assessor’s role is to aid the learner to gain an overview of the qualifications he or she hopes to gain and to plan their route to achieving it - involving selecting the right units, in the right order and identifying any extra support they might need.
Information collected during the initial assessment includes:- * Social/ethnic background.
* Learning difficulties, disabilities and health or personal difficulties. * Previous abilities, experience, education, qualifications and achievements (RPL) * Learner strengths.
* Areas for development – weaknesses.
* Current job role.
* Learners short and long term ambitions, goals, needs and expectations. * Time resources.
* Available facilities and support.
It is the assessor’s responsibility to determine the learner’s attitude and commitment and to ensure that he/she is fully involved in the process. Failure to carry out a thorough initial assessment can result in guiding the learner to unsuitable options, the training taking too long and wasting time, effort and resources, leading to frustrated learners and resulting in a high rate of “drop outs”.
2 – Planning
Before the assessment of a learner begins, it is important to make a plan of how the assessor will carry out the assessment. The overall aim is to plan for the types of evidence needed to inform the assessor’s decisions. A holistic approach is important here i.e. the assessment process needs to be planned around what the learner is doing, then linking these activities to the occupational standards, not the other way round - Important for learners in the working environment. Valuable steps for the assessor during planning are to :-
1. Ensure an overview of all the relevant units within the learners chosen path, taking into account the results of the initial assessment. 2. Have all necessary documents concerning the learners existing achievements to hand 3. Gauge the level at which the learner is currently working. 4....
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