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Enabling Learning and Assessment Essay

1. The purposes of assessment

Assessment is the process of evaluating an individual’s learning. It involves generating and collecting evidence of a learner’s attainment of knowledge and skills and judging that evidence against defined standards.

Tummons suggested that:

‘With assessment we can:
* Find out if learning has taken place;
* Diagnose learners needs;
* Provide public acknowledgment and certification of learning
* Allow processes of selection to be carried out;
* Provide way to evaluate learning programmes;
* Motivate and encourage learners.’

Tummons (2009:5)

Written justification of assessment methods

I have chosen to do Holding and aiming in the prone position, I would do this by getting the SUT in the tramline formation. This is where they will number off in pairs, so all the No.1’s on one side of the room whilst all the No.2’s are on the other side of the room. I will get the No.1’s to conduct the drill when I give the word of command. The No.1’s will be ensuring they adopt the prone position correctly, going through the 9 key point check list and taking aim on the target. Whilst this is happening the No.2’s will be observing throughout looking for any mistakes. Once the No.1’s have completed the drill I will go down the line asking the No.2’s if they observed any mistakes. By doing this I am getting the SUT to give out peer assessment on the progress of his/hers drill on the weapon system as this can develop and motivate student.

The student will also have their own self assessment; this is where the students are assessing their own progress throughout the lesson. These methods encourage the SUT to make decisions about what has been learnt so far, and to reflect on aspects for further development. Once the No.1’s have completed the drill, the same process will happen with the No.2’s and the No.1’s looking and observing for any mistakes. Whilst all this is going on I will be looking for any mistakes as I watch from one end of the tramline formation, this is called tutor assessment and can help give feedback to the student to guide them on their strength and areas of development. This is also known as formative assessment so it can provide for me a continuous source of information about the students’ progress, improvement and problems encountered in the learning process, so I together we can develop their confidence and competence on the weapon system.

2. Practical assessment

a) Aim

The aim of a practical assessment in a classroom environment is to ensure that when handling a weapon system that the necessary measures and safety precaution is carried out correctly and sufficiently. It is my aim to make sure that the SUT carry out the drills correctly, if however people are struggling to adapt to the new drills then it’s up to me the instructor to change my approach to the individual learning style.

b) Reason for selecting practical learning assessment

We use practical assessment in the army especially when teaching a particular subject like Skill at Arms to help us as a teacher to confirm that the SUT have understood the correct handling of the weapon. It’s not only a confirmation for the teacher but a confirmation for the individual that he/she has took on board the new skill and knowledge they have been taught in the lesson. During the lesson, when I have demonstrated a new drill, the SUT are required to imitate the drill whilst I explain and demonstrate it, taking it step by step. Once I am happy that the SUT have grasped the new drill, a confirmation is done to ensure that the SUT understands the new weapon drill.

This will be done when I give the word of command and the SUT carrying out the drill without any help or guidance as I watch and observes for any mistakes that the SUT may do. In order for the SUT to use blank or live ammunition on exercise or on the ranges, they are required to pass a Weapon Handling Test (WHT) which is a critical practical assessment as it is part of their summative test and needs to be done twice a year. I will give a number of instructions which the SUT must complete correctly and confidently in order to pass. There is no time limit and they are allowed one mistake on each stage of the test.

This assessment is to show that he/she has the knowledge and skill to handle the weapon with blank or live ammunition with confidence. For assessment of practical activities, the potential barriers should be considered and reasonable adjustments developed that meet the needs of the individual learner. Many of the adjustments for a practical assessment are similar to those of a written assessment. We must however be aware of the learners/individual learning styles as this will vary across each lesson we teach. If we look at Fleming understanding of learning styles which he used the terminology of VARK, he stated that people can be grouped into four styles of learning:

* Visual – Seeing.
* Aural – Listening and talking.
* Read/Write – Reading and writing.
* Kinaesthetic – Doing.

(Gravells 2012:40)

The SUT will come under one or more of these learning styles and as I have seen it in the past whilst teaching, I have to adapt as a teacher to accommodate to their preferred learning style which means I have to plan and break down my lesson to ensure all SUT get the full benefit of what is being taught to them.

Sue Crowley of the IFL stated:

Often new teachers teach as they were taught, then perhaps as they would like to have been taught, and finally they realise different ways and a wider spectrum of teaching and learning approaches are needed and available. (Gravells 2012:40)

A statement in which I agree upon as my thought process was similar but when teaching SUT it’s taught me to adapt my teaching skills to benefit the individuals so they can get the best outcome during the lesson.

c) Conduct of the practical assessment

The SUT will be assessed throughout the lesson and this can be done in many ways as it is classroom based, this will be an informal assessment. As the SUT reacts to the word of command for example; ‘For inspection port arms’ they are to carry out the necessary drill in which I will observe for mistakes. Observation is a good way to assess the skills, knowledge and attitudes of the SUT. When observing, it enables me to see how well the SUT are doing, letting them make mistakes as long as it is safe, especially when dealing with a weapon so they can learn from their own mistakes. Once the drill is complete I can ask each individual if they made any mistakes and give them self assessment, otherwise I can give negative or positive feedback to the SUT. Observation is good within our training establishment as it assess the SUT competence, skills and attitudes when dealing with a weapon and the observation can follow on with a question to check the knowledge and understanding.

SUT training can be assessed in two other ways and they are called peer assessment and self assessment. For the instructor to see this happen, the students will pair up and work as a team. Whilst one SUT does the drill on the weapon whilst the other partner watches for mistakes, this is called peer assessment, but at the same time SUT who is carrying out the drill can self assess as he/she goes along. If the student was to carry out the Load, Ready, Unload drill, their partner can look in for any mistakes and as the instructor asks the observer from each team if there were any mistakes, this can be useful to develop and motivate the SUT. Peer assessments can be affective as SUT feedback is given skilfully, but other students may think more about what their peers have said than about what the instructor have said.

3. Question assessment

a) Aim
The aim of a question assessment is for the instructor to see if the SUT can demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the subject being taught to them. It also helps when asking a question to the SUT that they have to think about their answer. b) Conduct of a Question assessment

During each lesson throughout the army, as an instructor we will always ask the SUT questions of the particular topic that we have been learning about before moving on to the next topic or next stage of the lesson. This is formal or informal assessment and is used to assess cognitive ability which can be used whenever the instructor wants to assess the knowledge and understanding of SUT. When giving a lesson on Skill at Arms, ‘Different combat position.’ The instructor will always give an explanation of why we do it and when to incorporate the positions for example, on the ranges or when we are on operational tour, followed by a demonstration. As the instructor has given the explanation and demonstration, we will go through the demonstration again whilst the SUT imitate you as you take them through step by step.

Whilst doing this process we normally ask the SUT questions on the next stage of the movement, pausing for a second and then state the name of the learner who can answer. This way, all SUT is thinking about the answer as soon as you have posed the question, and is ready to speak if their name is asked. This assessment not only help the instructor to confirm that the individual or group know the answer but helps their peers to understand it as well. We also do oral written assessment, as this is part of the minimum core, for example before I start the lesson I would ask the SUT to take out their note books and pens.

I will ask them a number of questions in which they will write their answers in their note books which will be marked before the lesson take place. If for some reason some of the SUT get a few questions wrong I will ensure that I make a plan in the evening to go through the questions or drill in which they got incorrect so that they are at the same stage as all the other SUT. Asking questions to the SUT and for them responding in giving the answers back to the instructor is self assessment and peers assessment so that the SUT know what areas they are good at and what areas they need to work on. However it’s good for the tutor assessment to understand how the SUT progress is going by conducting these assessments.

C) Advantages| Disadvantages|
Problems can be solved| SUT don’t know the answer|
Question being answered| SUT can be put on the spot|
Understanding people’s views and opinions| |
Gives people a voice| |

4. Reflecting on how feedback has informed your learners’ progress and achievement

Feedback is a vital part of the learners’ training at the army foundation college as it informs the SUT on their progress and achievement. To make sure it is effective it is important that we develop rapport, mutual respect and trust between the instructor and the SUT. During a Skill at Arms lesson it is important to give effective feedback as this informs the SUT on how well they are doing or on what areas they might need to work on. I try to give out the best feedback as I can to the SUT or the individual as I know this will help reassure, boost confidence, encourage, motivate and develop their knowledge, skills. It can help the SUT to maximize their potential and professional development at different stages of training, raise their awareness of strengths and areas for improvement, and identify actions to be taken to improve their performance.

5. Reflecting on how feedback from others has informed your own professional practice

On the 1st November 2012, I conducted a lesson on pain relief (Morphine) which was observed by an assessor. I felt that the lesson was well structured, planned and I got the key learning points across to the SUT. Once the lesson ended I sat down with my assessor and was given feedback on my lesson. The written feedback said this:

The session had a clear and important content to communicate. This was achieved and checked by the test. A stronger introduction would set the scene and provide guidance to learners of what they had to do during the lesson. Focus on the test/know the purpose of the test.

The conclusion could tell learners what to do with the test papers and how this will be an aide memoire. Test was very well created, covering all key learning and checking recall, understanding and application. It could be improved with clear guidance i.e. working individually without referring to their notes. As this was ‘assessment for learning’ as well as ‘assessment of learning’ learners could work individually, with a partner and finally as a whole group to get the answers/self assessment and check learning. You could get feedback on results from the test by asking those who got 100% to stand up – an energiser, positive motivation and a simple measure for you.

This feedback has opened my eyes a lot clearer as I was more channelled to delivering a simple but constructed lesson. Just by delivering a stronger introduction can make the learner motivated to learn, which I didn’t realise until someone made it aware to me. It was a good motivation and energiser to hear from the assessor that the test paper was well created which gave me that sense of pride. However when it came to handing out the test paper, giving the SUT a certain amount of time to do it in and once they had completed it they would mark their own paper as I went along with the answers. Just from what the assessor has written in the feedback it can give the learner self assessment and check their learning, so in future I will take more time on how I construct the test and how to mark it as this will give me a feedback on the progress of the SUT.

6. Reference List:

* http://www.open.ac.uk/inclusiveteaching/pages/inclusive-teaching/barriers-to-learning.php Date accessed 8.11.12

* Tummons J – (2009) Assessing learning in the lifelong learning sector. Exeter: Learning Matters

* Gravells A (2012) Preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector. London: Learning Matters

* www.faculty.londondeanery.ac.uk

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