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Enabling learning and assessment

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Title Enabling learning and assessment

Assessment is essential in teaching throughout any subject or course in practical and theory work. First initial assessment is used to ensure students are on the correct course. Once learning starts differentiated formative assessments are carried out throughout ending with summative assessment which usually warrants a grade or a pass.

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Due to the importance of assessment in teaching it helps to use VACSR to insure all elements are covered. VACSR are the initials for five elements of assessment.

Starting with Validity which ensures the content of the course is covered. Petty states “validity of an assessment depends on whether it actually measures the knowledge or skills it is designed to assess”(Petty,2005 p500). For example would asking students to list the procedure to spray a car panel be as valid as observing them spraying a panel in the workshop demonstrating procedure and techniques resulting with a finished sprayed panel.

Validity also covers whether the appropriate language has been used for the level the students are aiming to succeed in.

An example of this could be level 4-5 wording used while testing level 3 course. This also relates to fairness which is integrated into all elements of VACSR. Learners may be very good at a subject but assessing them with questions they do not understand would be unfair so would not be valid.

Authenticity covers more than simply questioning whether it is learners own work Petty states “authentic-if you want to measure a student’s ability to design; it would not be realistic to give them a design problem to solve in half an hour. That’s not how designers work”. (Petty, 2005 p502). This statement shows there are crossovers in VACSR which is fine as long as all elements are covered. Authenticity can be hard to identify in some assessments such as essay writing and homework. Using paperrater.com can help identify plagiarism but it would not be able to tell if somebody else had written an essay on a learner’s behalf. Knowing your learners writing style and capabilities can help determine authenticity. Sufficiency is achieved by the amount of evidence and number of times assessed.

As much differentiated assessment as possible is the fairest and most productive approach for all learners to achieve their full potential. This is known as formative feedback which is an important factor in the sufficiency of assessment. Reliability is probably the hardest to achieve. In essays it is often up to the individual marker or teacher to assess work. Petty states “assessment is only reliable if the criteria are well defined” (Petty2005p480) The criteria sets the standards to help teachers in different learning environments give equal grades to learners of the same ability. Without set criteria or marking scheme it would be almost impossible to achieve fair and reliable grades for everybody.

Assessment also needs to be current. Laws and legislation such as health and safety are continually changing as well as curriculum. Assessment criteria must change with them. In the car body repair industry, techniques and modern equipment are constantly been updated so college and training centres need to change to keep up. If the assessment criteria has not been updated to modern ways it would be unfair to markdown students for being up to date with new practice.

I recently designed an assessment activity in the college car body repair workshop for students at level 1. This is the first and only assessment I have designed. I asked learners in pairs to identify imperfections on a freshly painted car. Their objectives was to discuss what had caused the imperfection and what could now be done to rectify it. For example the correct grade of abrasive paper needed to remove the defection they found. Each pair had to write on white board 1 defection with cause and solution to rectify. I was happy with the idea of bringing a freshly painted car from my workshop because none of the students had worked on this car, so none of them new where faults were, this lead to a fair assessment for everybody. It was certainly valid because the work on the car had just been carried out in a body shop where they would be qualified to work if they succeeded in their course. Tummons 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” (Tummons,2007 p38).

I also found using a real life resource like this made it easy to meet my aims which were to assess if learners could identify correct grades of abrasive paper to use on different paint defections. The students enjoyed looking for paint defections which made the assessment easy to manage. This activity was authentic in showing the knowledge of students in pairs but was hard to tell which individuals gave the most input. It was necessary to make students do the task in pairs to encourage students to learn from each other in discussion, after all assessment is about improving learning so sometimes sacrifices have to be made. This also shows authenticity can be hard to prove in practical as well as theory. Using a freshly painted car was as current as you can get for assessing students. I used the latest dry sanding abrasive paper in a learning activity before the assessment to help them give the most up to date ways of removing defections.

When it came to sufficiency it was obvious the same task would need to be repeated with students assessed individually on different cars. The more times the activity was repeated the more sufficient it would be, also leaving time between assessments would give a better indication of learners progress. The reliability could be questioned because I never made a marking criteria. There could be a number of reasons for a single defect and the grades of abrasive paper used can vary to suit individual styles of working. Different teachers assessing same activity could mark learners of the same ability differently without set criteria. It would help to carry out activity 2-3 times to build fair reliable criteria.

The first assessment I carried out was identification of body panels. This was an assignment for learner’s portfolios, so had to be carried out individually. An old car kept in the college workshop had numbers stuck on various panels around the car, such as door, wing and flitch panel. Each leaner had their own worksheet with a list of 12 named panels. Individually students had to write on worksheets the number that was placed on the appropriate car panel. I found this was a straight forward assessment which was easy to understand for learners.

I checked their worksheets and if any answers were wrong I told them they should have another look around car to check answers. Some learners were frustrated, because it was a portfolio assessment I could not tell them which answers were incorrect. The worksheets were designed by the awarding body but the body panels to be identified were filled in by the teacher so therefore difficulty was set by the teacher. The assessment was designed to measure students’ knowledge of car body panels and done exactly that, making it a valid assessment.

The learners had to be observed carrying out task to ensure authenticity. I found the currency could have been improved by using a newer car. The old rover in the college workshop would no longer be seen in the workplace. A newer car would familiarise students with the modern structure of cars which would help them as they progressed. The worksheets sufficiently assessed students with about 85% of class getting 100% correct. Repeating task with some less common parts to identify would increase difficulty and be easy to modify. The results from first worksheet would help make the next assessment criteria whenever this activity was done. The most positive element of this assessment was the reliability. There was only 1 correct answer between numbers 1-12, this made it very quick and easy to mark.

I have given feedback to a student called Arthur to help him deal with his attitude to his dyslexia. I found he thought he was one of very few people with dyslexia and was embarrassed. I told him how common it was and that many teachers were dyslexic. In my recent reading for DTLLS I found out it was proven dyslexia is not related to intelligence, this was reassuring for him to hear. After this conversation he was more open about his dyslexia and spoke about it with a smile, whereas before he looked disappointed and down. This showed me how important it is to let students know positives in areas they are worried or unhappy with themselves. Petty states “feedback while you learn has more effect on student’s achievement than any other single factor” (Petty2005p480). The only thing I could have done differently in this situation was to give this feedback sooner.

Rogers states “give it immediately, the reason is that learning is like quick drying-paint. You only have a short time to correct mistake or let it harden into a permanent error” Giving this feedback helped me communicate with the learner and gained his trust. Any difficulty’s Arthur had during lessons he was not afraid to tell me, therefore I knew when to give extra guidance and help. With my own experience of school many years ago, dyslexia was not dealt with sufficiently like recent times, the following statement by petty confirms this “it is no accident that over 50% of those in prison are functionally illiterate, in many cases as a result of dyslexia that was not adequately diagnosed or attended to”(Petty2005,p503).

As I am new to teaching I need as much feedback as possible. I first realised feedback was necessary during my PTLLS course. My first experience of feedback was negative which happened in a five minute practice teach to prepare me for an assessed micro teach. I knew I had done badly, my teacher and peer feedback confirmed this. I was very down and ready to quit teacher training. Although the feedback was negative it was still constructive and helped me prepare for my micro teach. I did not realise this feedback would help me until after my micro teach weeks later.

I planned my micro teach well and used the previous feedback to give me ideas on how to improve. This worked to good effect, my micro teach was great. This time the feedbacks give me a wider variety of thoughts to reflect on, as well as the confidence to enrol in the DTLLS course. In the feedback most of my peers repeated the same strengths, such as good subject knowledge and enjoyable. The areas for development were helpful to improve further on my next teach. I would not have noticed some of the mistakes I made without feedback, so they would probably have been repeated. Simple mistakes such as the video not been loud enough for people at the back would have been repeated.

Verbal feedback should be given as soon as possible but this can be forgotten, so it is good practice to give constructive written feedback. I found written feedback very helpful from teachers but especially from a group of peers with a variety of views. Research online is also helpful, adult.com states” Get feedback frequently from various class members. Ask the ‘slow ones’, ask the ‘bright ones’. Do they both follow you?” it may be necessary to read 2 pages of information to find one small quote that makes the world of difference. This whole experience proved to me how essential feedback is not just for guidance and correcting errors, feedback can be a great confidence builder which is all some learners need to progress.

Bibliography

Adult.com online
http://712educators.about.com/od/teachingstrategies/a/veterantips.htm
accessed 5/10/13

Petty G [2009] Teaching today 4th edition Nelson thorns

Roggers J (2013) DTLLS Hand-out Waltham forest college

Tummons J (2007) Assessing learning in the lifelong learning sector 2nd edition

Cite this Enabling learning and assessment

Enabling learning and assessment. (2016, Jun 01). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/enabling-learning-and-assessment/

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