There are a variety of assessment methods available to us as teachers which can be used at different points of the teaching/training cycle. The first and probably most important one is the Initial Assessment.
The Lifelong Learning UK website states that
Identifying learner needs and initial assessment are critical at the start of a learning programme. Effective practice at this stage will clarify a learner's needs, and also identify opportunities to support skills development throughout the learning programme.
This assessment is carried out before any learning takes place. Usually the prospective learner will be interviewed by one of the course lecturers, to determine whether they meet the requirements for the course, whether they have the literacy, numeracy and ITC skills necessary and also whether they have any special needs which need to be addressed. Whilst this initial assessment is of the utmost importance to establish learner needs it can also be misleading. We might not get a true account of the learner’s ability, they may be nervous in an interview situation or they may have personal problems which could affect the outcome.
To ensure that we have a complete profile we have ongoing assessment throughout the course, this Formative Assessment or Assessment for Learning was advocated by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam, they suggested that, Information gained through marking or other means of assessment is used as feedback to modify learning activity. (http://www.teachingexpertise.com/articles/black-william-assessment-learning-118
For this type of assessment to be successful the feedback must be passed on to the learners. If the information is used