???Select an assessment scheme from your own subject area. Using appropriate assessment terminology and relevant theories, critically evaluate the scheme in terms of:
The overall purpose and type of assessment schemes used.
How assessment is recorded and used to promote learning
How inclusivity is maintained within the scheme
Critically evaluate the effectiveness of the scheme to determine whether it is fir for purpose.
Explain your reasoning and justify any improvements that you would make
For assignment two I am looking at and will critically evaluate the practical assessments that are conducted during the kitchen work within the Hospitality and Catering Department at Canterbury College. I will look into and describe the type of assessment, classify its type, evaluate the effectiveness. I will examine the recording of the assessments and in my conclusion will decide whether it is fit for purpose and make developmental recommendations.
On Thursdays I teach the Professional Chef Stage Three course. I run three consecutive 4 hour practical lessons where essentially the students prepare cook and serve lunch and evening meal for paying customers in the college??™s Beretun restaurant and Citrus cafe. The eleven students are all working towards their NVQ Level 3 award. They have a total of 23 units to achieve within the award, covering the preparation and cooking of complex dishes from many different food types such as shellfish, game and hot deserts. A portfolio based on showing evidence of competence for each unit is built during the year. The criteria and standards the students have to meet are pre set by the awarding body, City and Guilds and are subject to be being both internally and externally verified to ensure that all evidence conforms to the required standard. All students prior to commencing the course would have gone through an initial diagnostic assessment process during the induction phase to ascertain their prior knowledge, experience and importantly will identify if the learner meets the entry criteria. Evidence such as Accredited Prior Learning which can be taken from previous certificates and awards will give an understanding of their initial ability and suitability.
Taking into consideration Bloom??™s taxonomy theory, the psychomotor domain using physical, practical and coordination skills best suits the assessments that are carried out within the kitchen, although there is certainly an element of the cognitive domain which will involve the development of knowledge and thinking skills. Prior to every practical session the learners would have sat through a theory lesson where they will learn in detail key aspects of a particular subject related to their portfolio and this is where the thinking process starts to evolve which helps the learners when conducting a practical assessment. The ultimate goal for both learner and lecturer would be for the learner to be able to recreate a dish from memory and personalising it to suit their taste and style. Therefore cognitive and psychomotor domains work together.
Whilst conducting an assessment, the learners achievement is measured against a pre set standard. The assessor defines what the learner can do against what the set standard says the learner should be able to do. Minton (1997:197) states that there are three kinds of standard with which you can compare the individual learner??™s performance.
Criterion referenced assessment is where assessment is measured against set criteria. The set criteria represent competence at that particular level and therefore if the learner meets all the criteria they will pass and achieve the relevant qualification.
Norm referenced assessment is where the leaner??™s achievement is measured against the performance usually achieved by learners.
Self referenced assessment the performance of the learner is compared with their own previous level of performance.
As all of the students within the department are currently working towards National Vocational Qualifications, Criterion referenced assessment is the type of assessment regularly used.
During the course year the students will go through a process of both summative and formative assessments. Formative assessment will be widely used and would certainly take place on the majority of practical kitchen days. For every unit within the portfolio there is an underpinning knowledge test which would be conducted during a theory lesson and would be in the form of a summative assessment.
According to Gravells (2009:21) Assessment gives a measure of learning at a given point in time.
As previously mentioned the Thursday practical lesson would have followed on from a theory lesson where the learner would have been introduced to a subject or particular food group and therefore on the Thursday would put the newly taught knowledge into practice by creating a dish or group of dishes centererd around the food group in question. At the start of this year and in line with the scheme of work the learners had been discovering types of game meat and shellfish widely used within the majority of restaurants. The morning session would commence with a tutor lead demonstration. For example recently the students were learning about shellfish and therefore on the practical lesson they were given a practical demonstration on the preparation of crabs. Live crabs were delivered. Keeping the lesson realistic. Particular features and characteristics were pointed out along with the correct handling technique. The students were then all individually invited to get hands on experience. Using a group discussion the learners would then be asked to explain and recite the preparation & cooking methods, as these were previously taught. Once satisfied that a degree of deep learning had been achieved the students would then individually conduct the preparation & cooking methods.
Whilst the students were individually preparing and cooking their crab direct observations would be carried out. During the direct observation the assessor will be watching the learner and assess both the process used and the final product or end result of their task.
Although direct observation is the usual and best method for assessing practical work there can be draw backs particularly if a learner is subjected to a direct observation over a long period. The individual could feel threatened and de-motivated and the assessor prejudices could bring the reliability of the assessment into question.
According to Gravells (2009:24) when planning which assessment type to use, you need to ensure it will be valid and reliable, and that you are being fair and ethical with all your decisions.
For the assessment to become valid the knowledge that is being tested must have been first covered in a previous lesson. Tummonds (2009:38) states a valid assessment, in brief, is an assessment that covers the course as a whole, uses appropriate real-life methods, is most suitable to the subject or vocational area and helps predict how the learner will perform in the future.
Consistency will help keep the assessment reliable. If the assessment can work in another location at another time and also if a learner took the test twice and achieved the same result the assessment can be confirmed as being reliable.
If the assessment considers aspects of safety and security than it will become ethical. Integrity and most importantly confidentially must also be taken into account.
For the assessment to be judged as fair, it must be appropriate to all of the learners at the same level.
To ensure that all these considerations are used and maintained correct pre assessment planning must and does take place. During the planning the assessor must also consider whether the assessment covers all learners, are they all included. They must all be valued the same and reference to cultures, race gender and social experiences must be treated fairly and appropriately. For example in the unit for preparation of meat, both red and white meat is to be used. For white meat pork is widely used. A student from an Asian or Muslim background will not, under their religion be allowed. to touch or consume pork. This must be respected and therefore an alternative choice of white meat such as turkey should be used. Failure to respect these types of issues will almost certainly lead to de-motivation, the feeling of alienation and would be considered an unfair action.
Using the direct observation method alone whilst in the practical session could certainly raise a question on whether the assessment remains valid, reliable and fair. During the theory session summative assessments in the form on knowledge tests will help with overall assessment development. As part of their portfolio build the learner will use the online assessment process and record their activity. This recorded assessment is then electronically forwarded onto their assessor who will then mark and award any appropriate criteria points that are in line with the current national standards. The assessor will also give constructive feedback, and if necessary resubmit the final assessment back to the individual leaner for additional work. Once the assessor is happy that the assessment is accurate then this will be inserted into their portfolio and act as evidence of competence. During the majority of the practical sessions another tutor usually assists in any direct observation and therefore this helps in all judgemental decisions.
During the learners practical work they are all encouraged to record as much evidence as possible to prove competence. The use of mobile phones to record photographs and videos and prepared and finished dishes not only helps them remember what they have covered but can be used to show that the assessment was authentic and actually happened. This type of recording is widely used throughout the practical sessions.
During the practical sessions, once the learner had satisfied the assessor that they had understood the practical demonstration and had showed they had learnt the relevant skills, they would be given a dish that they would have to take exclusive ownership over and prepare, cook and serve for either lunch or evening meal. The dish would be set by the assessor and would contain relevant preparation and cooking processes that had recently been covered either in the practical demonstrations or by a theory lesson. Once meal service commences and customers in either the restaurant or cafe start ordering their food choices then the students will finish off the cooking process and present their dish accordingly. Direct observation would continue, not just to ensure the assessment remains correct but also to ensure all aspects of food safety and health & safety are adhered to, ensuring that all food delivered to the customer is safe to consume. If during the course of serve a particular dish is not ordered the assessor will still ensure the learner plates up their dish to keep it fair and to ensure all students have the same opportunity.
The best type of feedback comes from the customer themselves, and they often complete a comment card after their meal. Once service is complete the assessor will first give the whole group a general feedback of the entire service and will use the comment cards in this feedback. Then individual verbal feedback would be given to each learner, ensuring that both positive and developmental points are used and are appropriate. The student will then write about this assessment at a later date.
The feedback given to the learner is vital and I agree with Recce & Walker (2005:304) that we often tend to concentrate on the teaching of subject matter to the exclusion of core skills. But employers often tell us that they want their employees, our students to be good communicators. Encouraging and appropriate feedback will give the learners the tools to achieve this.
Overall the assessment process used particularly in the practical sessions works, and becomes a beneficial aid in helping the learner through their developmental process and ultimately achieves qualification success. It has been noticed, however that there can be a trend throughout the kitchen assessors to use too much direct observation and stand too far away from where the students are working and as a result occasionally miss the opportunity to give developmental points during the preparation and cooking assessment process. It is recommended that all assessors regularly walk around the kitchen practical area, therefore ensuring they are still involved, not intimidating a particular student and able to assist, encourage and give developmental points if and when necessary. The use of more than one assessor helps keep the assessment reliable and by using the feedback from live customers also helps but importantly creates a more realistic industry working environment.
It has been noticed that feedback to the students particularly the group verbal discussion can sometimes be rushed and therefore misses key areas and on occasions doesn??™t happen. The need to clean down the kitchen and either start preparation for the next meal or close down the kitchen for the night takes more precedence than feedback, this is a shortcoming and must be conducted correctly, not only to aid development but to ensure that the feedback is fair and reaches all students and not just a small fraction.
I would recommend that the use of more than one assessor during direct observation is maintained and that group feedback discussions are conducted after every meal service.
By encouraging all the students to use other forms of evidence in their online recordings such as photographs and video clips ensures that the completed assessment is a true account of competence. This is good practice, gives the learner a sense of achievement, something to be proud of and this must continue.
Gravells, A. (2009) Principles and Practice of Assessment in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Glasgow, Learning Matters Ltd.
Minton, D. 1997, Teaching Skills in Further & Adult Education: London, Macmillan Press Ltd.
Reece, I. & Walker, S. (2005) Teaching Training and Learning a practical guide 5th edition. Sunderland, Business Education Publishers Ltd.
Tummons, J. 2009, Assessing Learning in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Trowbridge, Learning Matter Ltd.