Without some kind of assessment then you will find it difficult to measure whether learning has taken place or not. The reasons for assessing is to find out if someone is capable of doing a course at a particular level or to see if they are ready to go on to the next level due to the higher level of work required. “Assessment is the process of obtaining information about how much the student knows and evaluation involves using that information to form judgements which, in turn, are to be used in decision making” (Ian Reece, Stephen Walker chapter 6)
There are a number of assessment methods used and used in different contexts. Different types of courses require different types of assessments. Initial/ Diagnostic Assessment; this is usually done at the start, before someone is about to undertake a course or qualification. As you need to know what they know already about the chosen subject to learn. This then gives you an idea of what level you can place them at. It is an evaluation of a person’s strengths and weaknesses, knowledge and skills.
Independent Assessment is an objective view by someone who is from outside the organisation (Independent governing body), who comes into the course (usually towards the end) and makes a decision on the students achievement. Formative Assessment- as a Business and Enterprise Manager this on going assessment is used and allows the student to improve and I can monitor and observe them in practical’s on a regular basis. Allowing regular feedback on what they need to improve on.
The main use of assessments for teachers is the on going or formative assessment”( Geoffrey Petty 1998 p401). Summative Assessments are usually done at the end of the course of learning. Students will then know if they have passed or failed in their bid to gain the qualification or referred to re-do part of the course. Observational assessment allows the tutor to see if the student can perform a certain skill that has already been demonstrated or taught. This also allows me to step in if the student is making any mistakes.
Questions and Answers are usually used to see if a student has gained the understanding and assess their knowledge of a chosen subject. You may need to re-phrase questions as some students can be put off by the way a question is being asked. Simple explanations and clarity for a simple response and answer. This area would also cover written reports, assignments, projects, portfolios and tests as well as oral questioning with regards to past experience and achievements.
Log Books/ Learning journals are a useful way of seeing if a student has transferred the theory into practice. Practical assessments allow you to see if the student can put the theory based learning into practice. Possibly by doing role play and demonstrations. In my teaching role I use a range of assessment methods that include Practical observation , this involves role play, It allows me to see what the students are like within a group setting but also how they work on their own and to see if they are reaching the targets that have been set.
I also use questions and answers. This process is used at the end of the session but before the recap to identify that the students have understood. This involves asking the students questions related to the task or activity so they can give me a critical answer of what and why they are doing a particular thing. I am then able to make a record of this by a simple “ thumbs up if understood” or “ thumbs down” if not. I am then able to make an evaluation of my teaching sessions.