What is assessment? Black and William (1998) declare that the term assessment is generally used to refer to all activities teachers use to help students learn and to gauge student progress. There are many different forms of assessment, however they can generally be divided into two main categories; formative and summative which can be formal or informal. Formative assessment focuses on the gap between where a learner is in their learning, and where they need to be.
Marshall (2006) states that formative assessment gives you more flexibility, your assessments can focus on the individual needs of your learners. Formative assessment is usually carried out during the learning process and is a form of giving feedback to the learner, in order for them to understand how they are progressing and to identify areas that may require further attention and what they need to do to achieve the learning outcome.
Summative Assessment on the other hand tends to be a formal measuring of the learning and focuses on the achievements of the learner at a particular time. This could be at the end of a term or at the end of a particular program of study. It is generally used to identify if the learner has achieved a level of competence and/or knowledge. Summative assessments can take the form of test, exams – Practical, oral or written, the individual is usually given a score which can result in a pass or fail. Assessments can be Objective or Subjective.
When assessments are objective, the questions asked have a single correct answer; these questions can take the form of multiple choice or true and false answers. When assessments are subjective, the questions asked may have more than one answer and can take the form of a written response such as an essay. There are also criterion-referenced and norm-referenced assessments. A criteria-referenced assessment measures what a learner can actually do (their competence) and it is measured against a set standard, an example of this is the current driving test.
Whereas, norm-measured assessment compares learners one against each other, an example being the IQ test. As a teacher in my teaching practice I use a variety of assessment processes. I use criteria based formative assessment in the skills-based Basic First Aid course; learners are expected to be able to perform effective CPR and to be deemed competent they are measured against a set criteria defined by the Resuscitation council and Health & Safety Executive regulations. I use observation to measure whether they meet these criteria.
However the assessment required for the First Aid at Work course, which is more in depth, requires a summative assessment, which takes the form of objective questioning to ascertain if the learner has gained clearly defined knowledge base and a practical skill test to ascertain if the learner is able to perform effective first aid. This assessment is a defined pass or fail. All learners on our NVQ program are measured by performance criteria which define the context for assessment laid down by the accrediting bodies, and both formative and summative criteria-based assessments are used.
This allows the assessor to give students feedback on their development and on areas that may require further attention and also to observe when they have reached occupational competency. All assessment processes must first start with an initial assessment. Black and William (1998) suggest that this initial assessment (for learning) focuses on the gap between where a learner is in their learning, and where they need to be. This assessment is a good starting point to discover what skills your learner has and to direct them to the next stage.
I carry out an initial assessment on candidates undertaking NVQ training. This is used as a tool to develop an individual learning plan for them. During this assessment process we would ask the candidates to complete different forms and questionnaires in order to gather the information for their plan. This would include a numeracy and literacy test to judge their level of skills and to ascertain if they will need to be referred for extra help and a learning styles questionnaire so that we can tailor any training towards their preferred learning style.
Initial assessment can also be used informally at the beginning of a course as a tool to establish learners existing knowledge and expectations. This information can be used to bias the teaching towards the needs of the learners and also focus the learning towards the learners’ expectations. Other types of assessment can be used to judge whether a learner has made progress such as self-assessment.
This is where the student reflects upon their own progress and assesses their own development and achievements made during their learning journey; or it can be a peer-assessment, where the learners peers (who are on the same learning journey) assess the learners developments and achievements through observation of their practice during the journey; or third party, which is where another person not on the learning journey, assesses the learners progress by examining how they have put the knowledge/ skills they have learnt into practice, (these would be a supervisor or manager).
Assessment can occur in a number of ways including observation, watching and evaluating the learners progress which works well for practical skills-based courses; written questions to gain an understanding of the learners knowledge in their own words, although this can discriminate against those whose written English skills are less developed; Multiple Choice questionnaires, again this is to assess their understanding of the taught material, and ensures equal opportunities for everyone as it is suitable for those who may be concerned about their writing / spelling or who may be nervous.
Please see assignment 8. 3. 6 record keeping in regard to assessment record keeping. REFERENCES Black, Paul, & William, Dylan (October 1998). “Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment. “Phi Beta Kappan. Available at http://www. pdkintl. org/kappan/kbla9810. htm. Marshall B. (2006) Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector BTEC Level 3 Edexcel Limited London (page 81) Wikipedia (2009) Assessment (online) available at http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Assessment accessed on 11/12 Oct 09ю