Principles of assessment in lifelong learning.
Assessment is a way of finding out if your student has acquired the required skills from their programme of learning and whether learning has taken place. If assessment is not carried out you will not know whether students have learnt or not. Assessment types include initial, formative and summative. Initial assessment takes place before the student commences a programme of learning. Formative assessment is an ongoing process during the student’s time on the programme and for the teacher to get ongoing feedback to show development.
Summative assessments occur at the end of the programme and can be an exam or a formal assignment. The methods of assessment used will depend on what the student is being assessed on i.e. knowledge, skills or attitudes. A method can be formal which will be awarded by an external organisation or informal within your own learning environment.
However, the methods used must take into account equality and diversity and also any special needs the student may have.
They must also be suited to the level and ability of the student. In my own specialist area of teaching students with special needs the main awarding body used is ASDAN. It specifically offers programmes and qualifications that develop skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life .ASDAN’s charitable purpose is: “The advancement of education, by providing opportunities for all learners to develop their personal and social attributes and levels of achievement through ASDAN awards and resources, and the relief of poverty, where poverty inhibits such opportunities for learners” (ASDAN, 2012). Method
Activities or tasks which cover theory and practice
A well written assignment will allow student to show language and literacy skills. Also allows independent learning. Students must have good writing skills and plagiarism could be an issue. Examinations
Formal tests which are carried out in specific conditions.
Quick way of assessing knowledge.
Not all students are good under exam conditions and may be anxious. Worksheets
Handouts to assess knowledge. Short questions or blank spaces provided for students to complete. Informal assessment activity which can be used for an individual or in groups. These are useful for students at lower levels.
Students may not find the worksheets challenging enough. If working in groups some students may not be participating as much as others. It is important that the learner is involved in the assessment process. A student’s progress needs to be reviewed regularly. When dealing with students with special needs I ensure that I provide support to be arranged during an assessment. I encourage discussions and questions and maintain motivation by giving positive feedback for what has already been learnt and recognising their ongoing achievements. I review progress by giving the student an opportunity to discuss any issues that are relevant to their learning and whether the methods being used are appropriate and suit each individuals learning style and discuss if they need further support. It is also important to emphasise progress rather than failure. Peer and self-assessment is also important. I had experience of this when presenting a micro-teaching session to my peers. It allowed me to assess my progress and to consider how I could develop my presentation skills further. Mistakes that I may have made during the session taught me how I could present more effectively and improve my communication skills. It was also a good opportunity for my peers to provide positive feedback and suggest ways in which I could improve as a teacher. It provided a chance for interaction with my peers and was less formal. Self- assessment also is essential for continuing professional development (CPD) as a teacher. ‘CPD gives the public, learners, the teaching community and the sector confidence that teachers, trainers, tutors and assessors are continuously improving their skills, knowledge and expertise. CPD is the hallmark of the professional’ (Ifl, 2009).
Assessment records need to be kept both for my organisations internal system and also for external regulators such as OFSTED. Assessment records should show each individual students record of progress from the time they joined the establishment until they have completed their time at the establishment. All student records need to be current, accurate and legible and can be stored manually or electronically. There are also legal requirements which have to be adhered to in accordance with the Data Protection Act (2003) when storing personal information on students. My own organisation keeps records of diagnostic test results, progress reports, records of oral questions and responses and assessment tracking sheets showing progression through the ASDAN qualification. I also have records of action plans and record of attendance for each individual student. Records are also necessary to be able to show to your students should they request to see information an organisation holds about them.
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ASDAN – http://www.asdan.org.uk/About_ASDAN
Gravells, A. (2012) (5th Edition) Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Sector: the New Award. Sage Publications Ltd. Ifl – www.ifl.ac.uk
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