Explain the functions of assessment in learning and development – include initial, formative and summative assessment. (1.1)
The fundamental function of assessment in learning and development is to ensure that learning has taken place. The role of the assessor is to evaluate the nature, ability or quality of a candidate against a set of criteria (informal) or to check that legal standards have been met (formal).
The first step is to conduct an initial assessment at the beginning of any programme related to the subject being studied so to ascertain the learner’s prior knowledge and levels. Initial assessments can also take the form of a skills check which identifies the learner’s preferred learning style; functional skills such as Maths and English and competency with ICT. These checks can be used to help and support learners.
The next step is to assess formatively; this is a continual process which is used to inform future planning and assessments and ensure that prior learning is built upon and progress in learning is made. This approach, often called assessment for learning, takes place every time the assessor comes in to contact with their learners; asking the candidates questions, observing what they are doing and demonstrating their skills and knowledge through discussions, activities and tasks. It is a method in which judgements are made about their progress and how they could improve.
The final type of assessment comes at the end of the programme or unit and can come in different forms including: exams, projects, interviews and observations. These Summative assessments are used to evaluate what has been achieved during the learning process, whether it is academic achievement or skill acquisition.
Describe the key concepts of assessment (1.2)
Assessment ought to be a systematic procedure which should be followed so that the learner has positive involvement and experiences an improvement in their skills and/or knowledge.