Understanding Assessment used in Education and Training
The term “assessment” refers to all those activities undertaken……(and) used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they (the learners) are engaged - Black and William ‘Inside the Black Box’
To explain the purpose of types of assessment, we must first define the 4 stages of assessment. These are Initial, Diagnostic, Formative and Summative.
Initial assessment can be done via an application form, a pre-course test or producing evidence of previous qualifications. We use Initial assessment in order to help us identify suitable learners for the course, with the correct course entry requirements, or to help offer alternative courses to learners. This stage can also help the learner to asses if this course is suitable to their needs or if they have the capacity to complete this course.
Diagnostic assessment is done before any classes have started, and is used to asses the learners prior knowledge and any help they may need in ICT, literacy, etc. It can also help to identify the different learning styles of the individual learners.
Formative assessment, is the ongoing assessment that occurs throughout the course, sometimes known as assessment for learning or AFL. We use Formative assessment to make records of what the students have learnt, in order to modify the teaching to assist the students to learn more and encourage motivation. This stage also enables students to identify areas of improvement and gaps within their learning. The Formative stage also allows students to prepare for the Summative assessment tasks.
Summative assessment or Assessment of Learning (AOL) occurs at the end of the course and is used to justify the awarding of a qualification. It is used to test the students on what they have learnt over the course and guide them onto the next stages of their development.
There is no way an exhaustive list is available for all the different methods of assessment, so we must choose particular methods that suit the curriculum that we are teaching. But all assessment must be valid, it must measure what learning has taken place and what kind of learning was intended. They must be consistent, so that should another assessor check the work, they would produce the same mark or result. The assessment should be clearly aimed at meeting the learning objective for the course or topic. The assessment shouldn’t be over burdening and allow time to mark and give back effective feedback on the work. This allows the students the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
There are a multitude of different strengths and weaknesses between different assessment methods, we must choose those that allow students the best possible chance to pass or learn from their mistakes. For example the most obvious assessment method is the exam, this could be an unseen exam or a take home exam. If a first aid teacher would want to check whether a learner can use resuscitation techniques effectively, the most appropriate method would be simulation. If the teacher wants to check whether a learner can apply the knowledge gained from the session in a range of situations. An appropriate method might be questioning. (oral or written). We cannot use all the different assessment methods as this would be too time consuming.
As assessment is an ongoing process, we can also adapt it as we go, this could mean that we need to adapt it for individual learners possibly due to ability restrictions, or maybe the original assessment was beyond the students comprehension, therefore needs modifying to incorporate the students learning scope. As assessment if for both the student to understand their progress and the teachers to keep records of the students progress, assessment must cover and adapt to the students learning
In self assessment, students are required to rate their own performance against a standard, while in peer assessment they rate the performance of their