Assignment Unit 3:
Enabling Learning and Assessment
Karen Dennison, 295607
There are many reasons why students are assessed and this first section summarises some of the key benefits to students, institutions and teachers as suggested by Race et al (2005). In order to gain qualifications or complete a course, students will be required to prove their competence, knowledge or exposition of a skill, usually through the use of assessments to demonstrate that learning has taken place. Students may find assessment useful as it provides information regarding their progress, or identify areas for further development. Comparisons can be made against other students and this can help to give students a sense of how they are getting on compared to their peers. Although assessment may be motivating to some students who are progressing well it may also be demoralising for students who are struggling, or become a block to learning for others who are anxious about the assessment process. Therefore it is important that assessment is appropriate to the course and level of student and differs according to the psychomotor, cognitive and affective learning domains and this will be discussed in detail later in this essay (Race et al 2005).
From the institution and teacher perspective assessment can provide statistical information to monitor the overall performance of the college and indeed individual teachers. Providing information on the number of students who pass or fail courses, in particular the percentage of students who pass. This can be useful to recruit potential students if results are positive as it may demonstrate quality and excellence. Information following assessment can be useful to identify areas of strength and weakness within course materials, teaching or the organisation. Teachers also benefit from assessment as it can provide a tool to ensure students are directed to the right course or identify whether students have any additional needs and this can be identified as part of initial assessment (Race et al 2005). It helps to establish whether learning has taken place and can therefore be a measure of the effectiveness of the teaching. It can also be used to monitor progress of students, identify areas for development and provide evidence that students have met the required learning outcomes. The next section considers the stages of assessment and the purpose of each stage linking to Maslow’s self-actualisation model. This will be followed by an analysis of how assessment differs within each of the three main domains of learning as outlined by Bloom.
Assessment can take place in many different forms and times during a course. Formative or continuous assessment takes place during the course and can provide valuable information about how students are progressing in a fairly informal and non-intrusive way, although it may feel to the student that they are continually being assessed (Wilson 2009). This is also supported by Kolb’s learning cycle (1984) where he suggests reflective practice is a key element in developing practice. Boud (1995) also links self-assessment and reflection to effective learning. In contrast, summative assessment occurs at the end of a module or course and is most commonly a formal exam. Students are tested on their knowledge and awarded a certificate accordingly. This can cause pressure and anxiety for students particularly when grades are required for further learning.
Concepts of assessment as outlined by Wilson (2009) include norm referencing where students are assessed and measured against other students. Ipsative assessment involves students assessing themselves against set criteria and Criterion referencing requires competency to be measured against a set of set criteria and awarded a pass if the student meets the required standard. Assessment can be an effective teaching tool to demonstrate learning that has...