Concepts and Principles of Assessment
Assessment is a way of finding out if learning has taken place. It enables you, the assessor to ascertain if your learner has gained the required skills and knowledge needed at a given point towards their programme or qualification. You may be teaching and assessing groups and/or individuals within your organisation, assessing online programmes, or assessing individuals in their place of work, for example towards National Vocational Qualification (NVQ). Depending upon the subject you are assessing, you will need to devise suitable ways of assessing your learners to check their progress. It could be that assessment materials have already been produced for you, for example, assignments, written questions or tests.
A test is a systematic procedure for measuring a sample of a student’s behaviour
Reece, I. and Walker, S. (2007:44)
Tests can assess skills and knowledge, as well as behaviour. Having clear marking criteria, and sample answers, will help you make an informed assessment decision.
Assessment is a regular process; it might not always be formalised, but you will be observing what your learners are doing, asking them questions, and reviewing their progression. If you also teach or train, your learners will be demonstrating their knowledge and skills regularly, for example through activities and tasks. You are therefore constantly making judgments about their progression, and how they could improve. You should also be aware of the impact that your comments, marks and grades can have on your learners’ confidence. When giving feedback, try and be constructive; sometimes negative feedback can be constructive if given skillfully. Comments and feedback which specifically focus on the activity or work produced, rather than the individual, will be more helpful and motivating to your learners.
Assessments are usually:
• Internally set – produced by you, or your organisation, for example, questions, projects or assignments, which will also be marked by you;
• Externally set – usually by an Awarding/Examining body, for example, an examination at the end of the programme. These will be marked either by you, a colleague, or the Awarding/Examining Body.
The purpose of the strategy is to ensure the subject is assessed in accordance with relevant guidance and regulations, to give a quality service to your learners, and maintain the reputation of your organisation and the qualification. The assessment strategy should state how the subject should be assessed, and subsequent results recorded. It should also state experience, professional development and qualifications that assessors should hold. Quality assurance requirements, for example internal and external verification or moderation, will also be stated. Your organisation may also have an assessment policy which you should familiarise yourself with.
Following your organisation’s policy and the relevant assessment strategy will ensure you are clear about the requirements as to how your subject should be assessed. You should not create any additional assessment criteria to those stated. However, you could create additional activities for your learners to carry out, based around the existing criteria. This would help you see how your learners are progressing prior to issuing any formal assessments.
The Assessment Cycle
Depending upon the subject you are assessing and whether it is academic (theory) or vocational (practical) you will usually follow the assessment cycle. The cycle will continue until all aspects of the qualification have been successfully achieved by your learner, or they decide to leave. Records must be maintained throughout to satisfy your organisation, the regulatory authorities and Awarding/Examining bodies.
• Initial assessment – ascertaining if your learner has any previous knowledge of experience of the subject or topic to be assessed. Relevant...
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