12.1 Types of assessment used in lifelong learning
There are three types of assessments used in lifelong learning. These are; * Initial
At the beginning of a course the prior knowledge of a student must be uncovered; this is what the initial assessment is for. Establishing knowledge of ability through an initial assessment allows the tutor to tailor the teaching material appropriately, giving more time when lesson planning to cover weaker areas and spending less time on areas where there is already lots of knowledge. The initial assessment should also highlight any special needs, unusual requirements and learning support that a student may have. Assessment also takes place during the learning process. Known also as assessment for learning, the formative assessment is one made on-the-fly, using a whole variety of different methods. For instance a question and answer session, a word game such as hangman or a word search are examples of checking knowledge in a classroom setting. In a practical session a demonstration of the knowledge learned by performing a task could reveal how much has been learned. The formative assessment can identify areas where learning is taking longer than anticipated, or where it has been learned quickly. The session can then be altered to allow more or less time as appropriate or future sessions changed by lengthening or shortening the time spent on a subject or using a different method of delivery to suit the particular class. The final type of assessment is the summative. A summative assessment can be formal, for example by taking an examination, but it can also be informal, for example as in a question time or quiz. As with the formative assessment the summative assessment could take the form of a practical examination for vocational type studies. What the summative assessment establishes is how well the student has learned the subject from the teaching they have received. In each assessment it is important to bear in mind the subject being studied, the style of the teaching material, the teaching environment, and of particular importance is to ensure all learners are included fairly and equally, taking into account the various differences they may have. Gravells 2009 p34 says this; “all learners are entitled to a fair assessment and should be given the best opportunity to demonstrate their ability”.
12.2 Assessment methods used in lifelong learning
There are many methods which we can use for assessing the learning of students. A brief analysis of some methods follows:- * Computer based assessment. This method can be used in most subjects where there is a theory element included in the teaching. It is useful for ensuring standards are kept and everyone has the same test, and results of the test are often instant. A summative assessment. * Multiple choice tests. This method ensures uniformity in the tests and removes the need for writing skills. It can be used to assess most subjects. As it is an examination it is a form of summative assessment. * Essays. Essays often form part of a course, so assessment is a combination of formative (essays can be reworked and resubmitted) and summative (completed works). Essays may not suit all types of lessons but are well suited to many academic studies. * Observation. Observation can be both formative and summative but is particularly useful as a formative assessment in practical or vocational subjects where the learning achieved can be monitored during a lesson and adjustments made to suit individual students * Portfolios and diaries. In some subjects portfolios can be used to contribute to the final examined work, so portfolios and diaries or journals are both formative and also summative. One key point with a journal is that the student can assess their own work and identify weaknesses or strengths and monitor their own progression in their studies. * Oral assessment. This...
References: Gravells, A (2009) Principles and Practice of Assessment in the Lifelong Sector. Exeter: Learning Matters
Julie Henry, (2002) T.E.S., magazine article
Tummons, J (2007) Assessing learning in the lifelong learning sector. Exeter: learning Matters
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