Principles of Assessment in Lifelong Learning

Principles of assessment in lifelong learning Task A part a The assessment process is a vital part to teaching in the lifelong learning sector. All assessment requires the collection and recording of evidence of student learning. There are many aspects to assessment which will begin from the point of the leaner completing their initial application form. The principles of assessment come under three different headings, Initial assessment, formative assessment and summative assessment. Each of the assessment criteria come with specific outcomes for the learner this will assure the learner is getting the best possible outcome to their learning.

Looking at figure 6. 1 Gravells, A (pg112) assessment cycle as shown below The initial assessment will be the crucial part of the learning journey. This will provide the relevant information needed to decide the leaner’s starting point. It is the level from which the learner’s progress and also achievement can be calculated. As stated by Green, M. (2003) “Initial assessment needs to be done with learners rather than to them. It should be of benefit to learners and help them feel positive about themselves and their potential to learn. Initial assessment may start with establishing the learners, interests, aspirations; experience and motivation or it may be part of a “getting to know you” activity in induction. It allows you to look at the learning styles which are relevant to each learner. Whatever method you choose it needs to be flexible and should reflect the nature of the learner. From using a range of assessment methods it will enable you to summarize the learners starting point. Whichever method is chosen, it is important that initial assessment contains some form of skill/knowledge assessment which can be validated by the tutor.

The initial assessment will allow the planning for any other services which may be required to assist the learner. It is essential that all interaction which takes place with the learner on the initial interview is recorded, this is done for the protection of the learner also the tutor can refer back to any conversation which has taken place. The recording of information will make sure the learner is on the correct course at the correct level, the learner actually wants to access the course. Planning for the assessment is basically you and your learner agreeing on which type and which methods of assessment are suitable.

This will vary from learner to learner as they all have different needs and also very often different learning styles. Also included in the planning assessment is setting appropriate target dates setting with both the learner this could also involve other members of staff. Assessment activity is all about how to assess the activity and what methods could be used. For example if it is a student led assessment they could be completing the requested assignment or even gathering some form competent evidence. If tutor/assessor led this could be observation, questioning or even photographic evidence.

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After the three initial assessments have been completed it is then time to look at the assessment decision and feedback, this enables the tutor to make the decision on whether the learner has been successful or otherwise. This is the point in which the tutor/assessor is able to give constructive feedback to the learner stating if any further actions are required. Reviewing the progress means that any assessment plan can be review and altered at any one time to meet the learners required needs at the time, or upon completion of either the programme or the course.

The review process enables you as the tutor to sit with your learner and give the opportunity you both time to discuss any relevant issues you may feel will aid in their learning. By reviewing the assessment activities which you use this will give you an opportunity to amend any if necessary. The formative assessment is the second strand of the assessment process. “formative assessments are ongoing practices that help both the teacher and student evaluate and reflect on how they are both doing, and what changes either or both might need to make to become a more effective teacher and learner. Larry Ferlazzo (no date) Assessment for learning is also known as formative assessment. Assessment for learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence in 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. Since the goal of formative assessment is to gain an understanding of what students know (and don’t know) in order to make responsive changes in teaching and learning. Techniques such as teacher observation and classroom discussion have an important place alongside analysis of tests and homework.

Much of what tutors and learners do in the classroom can be described as assessment for learning. (Black and Wiliam, 1998) says “Assessment for learning can be defined as ‘all those activities undertaken by teachers and/or by their students, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged’ Formative assessment should occur regularly throughout the instructional process and, According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (NCFOT) (1999), Careful documentation can allow formative assessments to be used for summative purposes.

The manner in which summative assessments are reported helps determine whether they can be easily translated for formative purposes–especially by the student, teacher, and parent. (Ainsworth & Viegut, 2006) state “By varying the type of assessment you use over the course of the week, you can get a more accurate picture of what students know and understand, obtaining a “multiple-measure assessment ‘window’ into student understanding” Some examples of a formative assessment could be: * Asking questions * observations * self assessments * quizzes (sometimes) * learner record keeping

Thomas R. Guskey suggests “that for assessments to become an integral part of the instructional process, teachers need to change their approach in three important ways. They must “1) use assessments as sources of information for both students and teachers, 2) follow assessments with high-quality corrective instruction, and 3) give students second chances to demonstrate success” (2007). Assessment of learning is also known as summative assessment, assessments used to sum up a learners achievement. Summative assessment can be carried out as particular stages of the course or learning rogramme are completed, or at the end, whichever seems appropriate. Where achievement is recorded on an on-going basis, summative assessment may mean bringing all the evidence together, rather than carrying out an additional set of assessment activities. This means that all the requirements stipulated by the examining body are all collated and correct. Assignments to be marked and graded appropriately, making sure the work is that of the learners and no one else’s. . Examples of summative assessment can be a written examination. Reliability is essential as they are used numerically to classify learners and compare them to each other.

Traditional unit tests (multiple choice, true/false and sort answer questions) are poor summative assessments as they rarely require the application of skills and concepts or the demonstration of understandings rather than a mere reporting of information. The best summative assessments often incorporate the essential question(s) that have focused the unit, requiring students to answer one or more of the essential questions drawing upon ideas from personal experience, from the texts studied, and from new text(s) encountered as a part of the assessment. Assessment methods

Within my area of childcare/sexual health I use many varied types of assessment. The assessment criteria I use are based on the level of the learner and the suitability to the specific unit within the assignment. By using various methods of assessment I get a clearer picture of what went well with both tutor and learner and what was not so good so improvements can be made. Use accurate assessment to effectively plan to ensure all groups of students are suitably challenged and supported. Use a variety of strategies (ASL) to ensure students know where they are and what they need to do to improve in relation to their target grades.

These must include: * Skilful Questioning and other forms of oral feedback (relating to lesson objectives) which gauge and probe student understanding, as well as re-shaping of explanations and tasks. * Frequent written feedback (Marking), which follows Strengths, Attitude to learning, Level and Target (SALT) and where targets set are detailed enough that students can make progress. * Peer and/or self-assessment Photographic assessment Photographic assessments are used usually with another form of assessment, observation or verbal.

Photographic assessment allows the learner to do practical activities and have a photographic record of their achievements these can then be placed either into a book or a file and annotated by the learner which will explain the type of activity which had taken place. If this is done on a regular basis with activities at different levels the learner can see the progress which has been made. If and when using photographic evidence it should always be signed and authenticated by both the learner and the tutor. Is it valid? Yes as the photographic evidence will show as long as the photograph is annotated, dated and signed by a tutor/teacher.

If the evidence is not current i. e. the picture taken six months before the criteria may have changed so photographic evidence may not be required or be insufficient for the amount of work needing to be produced. As with positives there are also some negative points with this kind of assessment. * Some learners may not give permission to be photographed * It may mean learners are absent purposely to avoid taking part in the lesson. * You need to make sure all the equipment works and you have all your resources to hand. Verbal Questioning

This is an excellent way to find out if the learner has understood the task which has been set for them. You can use the lesson objective in this case to keep referring back to. The questioning can be either informal or formal. You could state you are going to recap the lesson, stating you will be asking each learner a question at the end. This method is used quite a lot as it continually assess the learner knowledge. Giving the students positive feedback throughout telling them no answer is wrong getting them to expand on the answer they have just given.

Demonstrations can be done with this method as you could demonstrate the subject at hand, asking questions continually and the students responding accordingly. * The down side is often learners are worried they will give the wrong answer. * They may feel embarrassed taking in front of others Observation Observational assessment is the perfect way to observe the students as they work on a specific project. This promotes independent learning; gaining more than one view point also the learning is timed and controlled. This enables the teacher to roam around the classroom, occasionally offering guidance and encouragement as the students work.

Whist walking around the classroom the teacher is able to take notes on how students are performing and also whether or not modifications need to be made to the assignment. The observation works well when the teacher wishes to monitor how students work together in groups or individually. The observational process is also a useful to monitor behavior within the session. This is turn enables the teacher to move the learner(s) if necessary. * Students may not participate in the session as they feel they don’t have the relevant information to give. May not get a true reflection of the outcome as some learners may come out with untruths. Portfolios Many aspects of the portfolio and the portfolio process provided assessment opportunities that contributed to improved work through feedback, conversations about content and quality, and other assessment relevant discussions. The collection also served to demonstrate progress and inform and support summative evaluations. The relationship between assessment and instruction requires re-examination so that information gathered from learner discussions can be used for instructional purposes.

The disadvantages of this could be * Time consuming for staff marking them * Difficult to ensure reliability between staff * Can encourage cheating re ownership of work It is important that all learners being assessed by this means must have a shared understanding of the level expected of their work. It is good practice to show learners relevant examples and suggest a proposed format, including suggesting a physical size, as this will help your back! If the nature of the evidence needed from students is transparent, this can aid the marking and go towards reliability between staff.

Also preparing a marking proforma for all staff should help. As portfolio building is usually time consuming, offer interim assessment opportunities so that learners can receive advice on whether the evidence they are assembling is appropriate. Consider assessing the portfolios as a team, with each giving comments on a feedback sheet which could also have positives on the portfolio as this aids feedback for learners. Self-Assessment/Peer Assessment Learners can only achieve a learning goal if they understand that goal, and can assess what they need to do to reach it.

The ability to assess one’s own work is essential in acquiring that understanding. Peer assessment is also valuable because the interchange will be in a language that learners themselves would use, also because learning is enhanced when leaners themselves tak on the roles of teachers and examiners of others. Self-assessment and peer assessment is used to log the progress. This can be done by mind mapping in different colours. First colour what they know, second colour some of the information you have imparted, third colour all the information and what their peers know.

This could be done on several different occasions to assess the progress which has been made, also to identify any areas of improvement, show the strengths of the learner. Below is a chart which I use and can be altered to allow for differentiation and levelling. The peer assessment could be a quiz which they complete they exchange papers to mark each other’s. This can give a sense of ownership to the student. In conclusion I feel that assessment is a necessary part of the learning process for both learner and tutors alike. It enables tutors and educational establishments to keep up to date records of the progress of each learner.

Ofsted or any other government expectorate will able to see regular progress, marking from the members of staff and also positive comments with identifiable areas of any improvement required. Task B The assessment process is an on-going process to which all learners should be involved in. One of the main objectives to assessment is to enable all learners to take part at their own level. The need for inclusivity is paramount when doing assessment to enable each learner to be assessed at their own level. If necessary other services may need to be involved i. English as an additional Language (EAL) this will need liaison with each subject leader and the co-ordinator for EAL. This will then look at the specific needs of the learner, ensure that assessment practice conforms with equality of opportunity, and monitor the performance of EAL and ethnic minority students, setting them relevant challenging targets, and finally analyse and interpret the performance of EAL and ethnic minority students at the end of key stages. Whichever assessment method I have chosen it needs to address the intended curriculum outcomes and also the continuum of learning that is required to reach the outcomes.

As I am assessing the learners they need to understand clearly what they are trying to learn, and what is expected of them. In turn they are given feedback I give them around the quality of their work and what in turn they can do to improve it. The advice they are given from me the tutor will go to making the necessary improvements. During this time they learners are fully involved in deciding what needs to be done next, and the relevant people who can give them help if required.

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