Assessment is viewed as a critical part of teaching and learning to ensure that the required outcomes and criteria for the qualification are achieved by both the tutor and the student. Assessment is the means of obtaining information, which allows teachers, pupils and parents to make judgements about pupil progress. The starting point for this is the curriculum and the processes of learning and teaching. Assessment is a tool for reflection on programme construction and teaching. It measures the success of learning, teaching and achievement and guides the next steps to be achieved. Assessment is a reflective tool designed to check understanding and development within any subject area.
As a teacher it has become very evident to me that assessment is a critical component of education and as such it is essential that I continuously monitor a learner’s progress to help me to identify where they are and if my teaching methods are moving individual students on. Teaching and learning are reciprocal processes that depend on and affect one another. The main purposes of assessment are • To assist the learner’s learning
• To identify learner’s strengths and weaknesses • To assess the effectiveness of a particular teaching strategy or method • To assess and improve the effectiveness of a curriculum program • To assess and improve teaching effectiveness
• To provide data that assist in decision making
• To communicate with and involve the learner in his or her learning. It was thought that assessments were purely to test what had been learnt, it is now recognised that assessments should be used to assist, aid and support learning mainly by the research of Black and William, this essay will look at principles and practices of assessment in depth.
Principles of assessment;
The first thing we must comprehend about assessment is the significant part it plays in the learning process while also being aware of and appreciating the variety of assessment methods that are available. Craig and Fieshi in 2007 part of the Assessment Reform Group 2002 states “a subtle change has occurred in the classroom from ‘assessment of learning to ‘assessment for learning”. (Wilson, 2009, p316). Assessments are integral to the process of learning, if teachers continue to teach without knowing if their students actually understand it is worthless. Assessments can be motivational if used in conjunction with constructive feedback but can also have the reverse effect causing students to be de motivated if feedback is not given or given incorrectly i.e. negatively. Assessments are also executed to identify and diagnose learner’s needs and these types of assessments should be ongoing throughout the course. An assessment is the process of collecting evidence in a variety of ways against a set criteria, this criteria is set by the awarding body for example city in guilds, the criteria is different for each course and may also be influenced by what the learner wishes to accomplish, as in the case of vocational course. Tutors collect evidence from learners in a variety of ways, appropriate to the learner, the course and the subject, once they have collected the evidence it is then checked to see if it has met the criteria. Ecclestone (1996) points out that assessment requires two things: evidence and a standard or scale. The evidence can take an almost infinite variety of forms, from traditional examination to projects carried out within a work based learning setting. Ecclestone goes onto explain that the standards or scales can take many forms. All however will involve measuring against on of three things, an absolute criteria, performance related to a...