Assessment is a tool to see if learning has taken place and a measure of how much a learner has retained and what further teaching is required.
There are 3 assessment types used in lifelong learning, these are initial, formative and summative. Depending on the subject being taught and the relevant awarding bodies’ requirements a combination of all 3 types maybe used.
Initial – Initial assessment should take place prior to the students starting a particular programme, course or subject. A simple initial assessment could be to ask the group a simple question at the start of the first session, for example “has anyone done this before?” This should give you an idea of what the learners already know on the subject. Relevant initial assessment will also give you information on the learners, for example, any specific assessment requirements or needs that they may have, their learning style and any further support that they may need.
Formative – Formative assessment should take place continually throughout the learners’ time on the programme and allow for development and improvement to take place. Simply asking questions and observing can allow the tutor to give on-going feedback to enable the learner to develop further, before a final assessment can take place. By assessing the learners on a formative basis the tutor can see if they are ready to undertake a summative assessment. The tutor can use activities, quizzes and short tasks for the learners to carry out which will highlight areas that require further development.
Summative – Summative assessment will usually occur at the end of the programme, topic, unit or full qualification. These assessments tend to be the most stressful for learners and can sometimes lead to a learner failing even though they are more than capable under other circumstances. It is important that when the tutor assesses the learners the tutor only assesses what needs to be assessed