Unit 3 Principles and Practice of Assessment
Word count 1469
Assessing my learners is important practise; the diversity of the group is so vast it is important for me to know before we start their individual achievements to date. The initial assessment is usually carried out by one of my line managers once a completed referral has been received for the person attending. I have access to the referral form and I will then compose an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) with the learner, establishing their capability and goal setting. I can then adapt my lesson plans appropriately to support my learner.
I use various forms of assessment throughout my lessons as there is no end of course exam or assignments, the work my learners do is all course work so I need to assess the learners throughout the course individually and as a group. There is a criteria that needs to be met for my learners to pass and gain a certificate in PSHE, I need to be aware of what the criteria is so I know what to expect from them and in turn I can enlighten them.
Peer and self assessment are not assessment methods I have used with my learners, mainly because of their age and the type of learners I teach, it is very hard to maintain maturity when peer assessment is being used which can demoralise one another. Self assessment does not work as most my learners are not honest enough which again comes down to maturity.
How I feedback to my learners is paramount, many suffer with low self esteem when they get to us so I have to choose my words carefully but it can however be useful to motivate learners by praising the work they have achieved and encouraging future effort.
I find questioning a very useful type of formative assessment allowing me to ensure learning has taken place before I move onto a new topic and also as a type of summative assessment at the end of a module.
The assessment methods used in my workplace are minimal, initial assessments and registers are used, although it is not my job to keep these I do use them for writing individual learning plans which are a result of this course and are just being introduced at STEPS. Witness statements are kept and recorded but I need to research and apply some more of the assessment records I have learnt throughout my studies.
I decided to look at my course books and research the internet, read through my class notes and speak to my tutor. I shall speak to my manager about assessment methods and also test them in lessons by getting feedback from my learners.
Having researched questions a) – d) by reading several books on the subject and speaking with the relevant people I have put some of my findings into practice in my workplace and found them very effective. I shall present my findings, referencing where it was found and I shall present the source of my research in a bibliological format and also attached some appendices as a reference.
a) Principles of assessment, different methods, strengths and limitations of these, relevant to their subject area, which can effectively meet the needs of learners.
???Assessment is a way of finding out if learning has taken place. It enables you, the assessor, to ascertain if your learner has gained the required skills and knowledge needed at a given point towards their programme or qualification.??™ (Gravells, A. 2009 p.7) It is important to identify that learning has taken place; this can be done throughout the lesson by observing what your learners are doing and asking questions to review their progress and at the end of the lesson. You must set an assessment activity to truly know that learning has taken place. ???A principle is a rule that you will follow; it is an underlying standard that you will not compromise. Some of the principles that you should advocate are:
|C |Consistent |You will always ensure that the methods and timeliness of your assessment are at a level, standard, making|
| | |certain that irrespective of how and when your learners are assessed,, the outcomes are constant. |
|A |Accessible |You will always ensure that all of your learners are able to access your assessments and follow your |
| | |systems of equality and inclusion. |
|D |Detailed |You will always ensure that your assessments cover your curriculum or unit fairly and evenly, leaving no |
| | |part undecided. |
|E |Earned |You will always ensure that your learners have achieved their qualifications with rigour and others will |
| | |respect the integrity of assessment. |
|T |Transparent |You will always ensure that everyone involved in the assessment is crystal clear about its purpose and |
| | |meaning. |
These principles form the acronym CADET.??™ (Wilson, L. 2008 p.279-280)
There are direct and indirect assessment methods, direct being evidence of the learner??™s work and indirect being evidence or opinion from others. There are many different methods of assessment and I shall talk about one I use in my work place and the strengths and limitations. Discussions/debates, learners talk about a relevant topic which contributes to the assessment criteria. Strengths, all learners can participate, allows freedom of view points, questions and discussions. Limitations, Easy to digress, assessor needs to keep the group focused and set the time limit. Some learners may not get involved, others may take over-assessor needs to manage the contributions of individuals, can be time consuming. Learners may need to research a topic in advance, can lead to arguments. Strengths and limitations all need to be taken into account when planning assessment methods.
b) Peer and self assessment; how this can promote learner involvement and personal responsibility.
???Peer assessment and feedback can also be useful to develop and motivate learners.??™ (Gravells, A. 2009 p.61) Allowing learners to feed back to their peers on something they are presenting to the class can be very beneficial and involves the whole class. ???Assessment is an essential part of learning; you can use this initial self-assessment to think about where you need to develop.??™ (Wilson, L. 2008 p.274) Reading over a piece of work before you hand it in is a form of self assessment, a way of checking your own work and thinking about what you might do differently next time.
c) How feedback and questioning contribute to the assessment process.
???Careful feedback can motivate, enlighten and provide a vehicle for development. Bad feedback can destroy confidence.??™ (Wilson, L. 2008 p.120) Hence giving effective feedback is quite a skill, testing your own skills in listening, objectivity and explaining. It takes time to get it right. Learners need to know what they have achieved and how they are progressing, feedback will help encourage and motivate them. Statistics show one third of all teaching time is spent asking questions and we learn by asking questions. Linda Wilson says questioning is one of the most successful and versatile assessment methods, equally it is the most criticised and open to inefficient and ineffective use. Hence it is therefore very important to get it right.
d) The types of assessment records which would be used to meet organisational and external requirement.
Some assessment records you will be required to keep are: assessment plan and review, assessment tracking sheets, feedback and action plan, individual learning plan, initial assessments, and registers. There may be a standard approach to completing the records and some records may be kept within your organisation using a management information system. Assessment records are essential for not just you but your learners, your colleagues and managers, parents and employers and then the awarding bodies and other outside agencies. Records can be electronic or paper based or both. ???It is important to keep records, otherwise how would you know what your learners have achieved You also need to satisfy any organisational, quality assurance, Awarding/Examining and regulatory bodies??™ audit requirements.??™ (Gravells, A. 2009 p66)
In conclusion, having done the research a successful teacher needs to be able to assess their learners using various assessment methods, having knowledge of the strengths and limitations of each method relevant to their subject area. Recognize when to use which method and how to record their findings on record. Have a good understanding of how to peer and self assess, being able to pass on the skill to their learners allowing relevant feedback and questioning to take place, embedding confidence in their learners and feeling confident in their teaching knowing learning has taken place. It is also vital to have the ability to back that up by proof of records to learners, managers or external bodies.
Gravels, A. (2009) Principles and Practice of Assessment in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Exeter: Learning Matters
Wilson, L. (2008) Practical Teaching A guide to PTLLS & CTLLS. Hampshire, Cengage Learning EMEA