Unit 007

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In lifelong learning, a variety of different types of assessment can be used to monitor progress, check understanding, identify development needs, identify achievement, demonstrate tutor and learner competency, and confirm learning outcomes have been met. Initial Assessments provide the information needed to plan an individuals learning and improve their chances of learning effectively. Initial assessment is the entry point on the teaching/training cycle, the learners’ motivations, the learners’ previous educational experiences, and the learners’ preferred learning style, whether Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic or Tactile (VAKT). Kolb’s model of Experiental Learning identifies these different learning styles, but suggests that although a learner can enter the cycle at any point, (usually their preferred learning style) any new task will be best learned if all four processes are present, with it acting as a continuous spiral. The learner should combine concrete experience (learning from specific experiences); reflective observation (observing before making a judgment by viewing the environment from different perspectives; abstract conceptualization (logical analysis of ideas and acting on intellectual understanding of a situation) and; active experimentation (ability to get things done by influencing people and events through action, even if this involves risk-taking). An example of this in action could be someone learning to ride a bike. They think about doing it and watch someone else doing it (reflective observation), they understand the theory and have a grasp of what is involved with the biking concept abstract conceptualization, they may receive practical tips and advice from someone who can ride a bike (concrete experience) and they may just leap on the bike and have a go (active experimentation). Similarly, Coffield has said that there is no scientific justification for teaching or learning strategies based on VAKT, and that we need to move away from the narrow focus on the learning styles of individuals to a broader concern for improving social conditions. Freire, believes that it is essential that people link knowledge to action. Diagnostic Assessments are intended to improve the learners experience and their level of achievement. It assesses what the learner already knows and/or the nature of difficulties that the learner might have, which, if undiagnosed, might limit their engagement in new learning. This would link with the preparation and planning stage of the teaching/training cycle, as any special needs should be ascertained and considered when planning the course/session length, type of resources, type of assessment, teaching methods and so on. Initial and Diagnostic assessments can be computer or paper based. My personal preference is the paper based version. In other instances, it might be better to run a short course with learners and use this as an initial assessment tool. Self (ipsative) assessments are assessments against the student’s own previous standards. It can measure how well a particular task has been undertaken against the students’ average attainment, against their best work, or against their most recent piece of work. Ipsative assessment tends to correlate with effort, to promote effort based attributions of success, and to enhance motivation to learn. One simple way of encouraging self-assessment is to issue learners with a copy of the learning outcomes, and ask them to reflect on whether they feel they have achieved these outcomes in their piece of work, and if not, how they can adapt their work to meet these outcomes. Peer assessments are the assessment of student work by other students. It has been recognized that engaging students in peer assessment can help in learning to evaluate their own learning and interpreting assessment criteria. Formative assessments contribute to learning through providing feedback. It should indicate what is good about a piece of work and why it is good;...
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