The reasoning for using Initial Assessment in my curriculum area is because the majority of students have not completed a formal education or if having done so hold little or no qualifications. The majority of the courses start at entry level therefore no qualifications’ are require, but to offer students progression on to higher levels they need to be holding or be able to achieve a level 1 in communication and application of number.
This is the minimum requirement to complete an apprenticeship programme and the vast majority wish to follow the vocational route to being a ‘qualified tradesman’. Procedures Before the day of enrolment students are fore warned at the interview stage what the awarding bodies’ requirement is to do a particular course. In the case of Construction Awards Alliance they have their own assessment criteria to try a match the suitability of the student to a particular trade.
However because we deliver from entry to level 2 with three bodies to keep to the assessment process standard the college format is used( booklet produced by the learning centre, attached). Hillier. J (2005 p62) states “Great care must be used with such assessment activities. Many potential learners will feel highly by being threatened by being asked to undertake a diagnostic assessment. ” In my opinion as long as students are made aware that this is not a formal test the majority do not mind taking the test, provided that the reasoning behind it is explained correctly.
As a tutor it is important I remember the purpose of the test as Lambert. D and Lines. D (2000 p20) state “formative assessment is undertaken so that positive achievements of a pupil can be recognised and the appropriate next step planned”. Once all the information is collated this is entered into the course/ student profile booklet, this enables me or any other tutors to look at a particular student or group qualifications and progress as they are recorded for each achievement.
Personally I think that the process works well when we complete the diagnostics on line as students can not see how others are doing. Most students feel more comfortable using this method as they do not feel as much pressure as they can wear head phones if required. The whole purpose works well because as a tutor working on entry level and to a certain degree on level 1, communication and application of number can be imbedded into the practical aspects of the course.
The major weakness that I feel of the assessment process is that they are not curriculum specific; aspects of application of number are not relevant to the vocational subject. As I have experienced my self and some mature students the terminology of key words has changed until we have had them explained. When using the paper versions students that struggle to read or write often do not complete enough of the booklet, for the tutor to find the true level the students capable / working at.
An important aspect that is often missed is the fact that to help students there is a requirement to have extra support in place if require for individuals. If there is no support is there a need for assessment? Yes but ensure all the support is provided and available as required in a timely manner. References a. Hillier. J (2005) Teaching in Further and Adult Education Gosport; Ashford colour press Ltd, p62 b. Lambert. D and Lines. D (2000) Understanding, Assessment ,Purposes, Perceptions, Practice London; RoutledgeFalmer, p20.