How would you assess students’ skills and knowledge?
What records do a teacher/trainer need to keep, and why is it important?
Assessment is the process of establishing the nature and quality of our students’ learning and measuring whether learning has actually taken place. Assessment is a key part of the teaching cycle because it enables us to measure achievement against set standards in order to ascertain if our trainees have acquired the skills and knowledge needed at a given stage of training, to diagnose learning needs and to select for further training. It is also the means by which we measure learning at the end of a course and certificate achievements.
The teaching cycle begins with an initial assessment. This gives a baseline of each student 's existing skills and knowledge and identifies any individual learning needs, helping teachers/trainers to plan their lessons to meet any specific needs and remove potential barriers to learning.
The next stage of assessment is formative. Formative assessment should be carried out on a regular basis as it highlights any weaknesses which may need to be addressed and provides opportunities to adapt teaching to learners’ individual needs. Informal assessment and evaluation is constant in the form of learners’ comments and feedback, and question & answer sessions to check understanding in a lesson. We cannot rely solely on this though, and need to establish a process by which the assessment yields results which are measurable, valid, reliable and fair.
The final stage of assessment is summative. This is the assessment, usually made on completion of a course, which measures whether trainees have reached to the required standard to pass the course and/or achieve a qualification. It is generally quite formal, taking the form of an examination or portfolio, and must refer to all areas and objectives of the course. There may be considerable overlap between summative and formative assessment,
References: Gravells, Ann (2008) Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector. 3rd Ed. Kent: Learning Matters. www.learningandteaching.info (accessed 20/07/10) www.lluk.org (accessed 21/07/10) www.opsi.gov.uk/acts (accessed 21/07/10): The Data Protection Act (2003)