Assessment for learning is fundamental to the development of independent learners. It encourages learners to take ownership of their learning.
"It is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there."(ARG 2002)
"Assessment must be valid, reliable, fair and manageable for all involved and must be consistently applied for all learners in all centres." (ARG 2002)
There are three types of assessment.
1.Initial Assessment. This is about knowing your learners in order to be able to support them appropriately, to identify if any learners have special needs. To know how your learners learn referring to the theories on how learners learn i.e. Honey and Mumford or Gardeners Multiple Intelligence. This can help the teacher to plan sessions appropriately for the different educational needs of the learners. If a learner has any special needs it may be that they are hearing impaired and may just need to sit at the front of the class or there may be the need to involve others with specialist knowledge e.g. a psychologist. "It needs to be done with learners rather than to them so that they can feel positive about themselves and their potential to learn. It is important that the process is not seen as part of a deficit model that serves to undermine confidence by focusing only on the things that learners cannot do. Learners need to understand why it is happening and how it can help them." Green, M. (2003). Initial Assessment: a learner-centred process. Learning Skills and Development Agency, p.5.
There are certain points that need to be focused on:-
What do they know? What can they do? How do they learn best? What are their aims? What are their drivers and what are their barriers and fears?
The teacher can use all this information to assist them in session planning in order to plan different methods of teaching to support the learners. There are several methods of obtaining this information :-
1. Appraisal of written information, such as learners application forms, records of achievement, progress files and references.
2. Individual interviews.
3. Formal tests.
4. Learner questionnaires.
5. Observed group activities.
6. Practical vocational activities.
2. Formative assessment. This is a continuing assessment of the learners throughout sessions or courses It is done to assess whether the learners have understood and to monitor and provide evidence of progress. It enables the teacher to give constructive criticism about how to improve and enables them to plan for the future. It also gives the learners and the teacher feedback to enable the learner to move forward in their learning and for the teacher to be able to assess that his/her methods of teaching are successful. This