Understanding the principles and practices of assessment Learner Name: Steven Hoyle Understand the principles and requirements of assessment
1.1 – Explain the functions of assessment in learning and development
The main purpose of assessment is to establish a person`s level of knowledge or skill in a particular field. This can take place before during or after a process of learning. The feedback given during this process is helpful to the learner to improve their performance as they progress with their work. Assessment is also a useful tool for employers to see whether employees are capable of performing their given roles. Assessment should be provided in an unbiased and objective manner regardless of personal association to the learner.
1.2 – Define the key concepts and principles of assessment
Key principles of assessment revolve around Validate Authenticate Reliable Current Sufficient Or VARCS Fairness in the assessing process should be taken to account for reasonable adjustments in cases equality and diversity together with ethics and integrity. At all times assessment given should be honest clear and transparent in terms of feedback provided and all written documents made. Standardisation being another key principle to maintain quality and fairness throughout the process, by discussing each other`s work identifying and discussing problems with other assessors and Internal Quality Assurer`s.
1.3 – Explain the responsibilities of the assessor
It is the responsibility of an assessor to carry out their assessments in accordance with the associated criteria, ensuring all submitted work conforms to VARCS .Working with the learner to agree an assessment action plan. It is the assessor`s responsibility to plan and organise assessments to provide regular formative checks on the learning process combined with summative grading to provide structure. When marking the work of a learner to do so in a standardised way, to provide a measure where the assessor and learner can see clear progress. Also to provide feedback at regular intervals in a detailed and constructive manner, this is important for the learner to know when they have reached a required level or need to improve on their performance to reach a level of requirement.
Working with the Internal Quality Assurer to ensure feedback is given objectively and paper work is completed in accordance with the associated standard of qualification. Also, to provide continuing evidence of CPD to maintain occupational knowledge, in which to continue to provide fair and honest assessments.
1.4 – Identify the regulations and requirements relevant to assessment in own area of practice
All assessors should have a thorough knowledge of the profession they are assessing and the relevant qualification to assess their particular profession.
The above links provide the required information for my area of practice.
Understand different types of assessment method
2.1 – Compare the strengths and limitations of a range of assessment methods with reference to the needs of individual learners There are a variety of assessment methods available, depending on the vocation to be assessed with differing levels of strength. Observation can be a very strong way of assessment, actually seeing the learner perform a required task, one downside to this could be the learner suffering from nerves at the thought of being observed. Written work whether it is a test or assignment can be done at a time to suit the learner and not requiring the attendance of an assessor saving time. However these can pose a disadvantage to learners who are not proficient writers. Sometimes in these cases it is useful to assess the same information through speaking directly to the learner to gauge what they know of a subject. Simulation assessment is used when the vocation is of a dangerous or sensitive nature such as a fireman or bereavement councillor.
Observing dangerous tasks are safer when simulated but do not provide the same degree of pressure as the real thing, similarly with sensitive issues it would not be appropriate to put a learner with someone in a distressed state. Recognised Prior Learning is useful where a learner has previously carried out some of the required work for their qualification, saving a lot of time repeating work. This is provided the relevant evidence is made available to show the learning was achieved to the required level. Self assessment, witness testimony and peer assessment are all able to be done at the learners own pace saving time but they also require each other and other types of assessment to verify their authenticity that they were actually done by the learner.
Products of work and projects again are great ways to assess a learner`s ability to produce a specified item and use research methods to obtain completion of work without the assessor or learner being in the same room when marked. But again these require other assessment methods such as peer assessment or a witness testimony in order to validate them. But at the same time these allow learners with difficulty in expressing themselves in certain ways to show their knowledge of the qualification. By making reasonable and relevant adjustment to learners needs in order for them to show their skill and knowledge.
Understand how to plan assessment
3.1 – Summarise key factors to consider when planning assessment The most important thing to consider when planning an assessment is, the learner ready. It would be a waste of time on all parts and resources if the learner had not reached a standard at which to be assessed. Ensure that a suitable amount of time is allowed for the assessment and necessary feedback whether it is a single or group assessment. Make arrangements to fit the assessment around the workplace or learning environment so that supervisors/managers are aware and that any particular equipment is available to use.
3.2 – Evaluate the benefits of using a holistic approach to assessment Holistic assessment allows several assessment methods to be used at the same time, saving time and resource for all concerned. As well as being able to integrate their own learning into practice, showing the assessor that they understood what they have been learning. Holistic assessment is also a good way to reduce stress on the part of assessor and learner and judging the required criteria for the assessment as a package rather than individual activities.
3.3 – Explain how to plan a holistic approach to assessment
Holistic assessment should always start by looking at the assessment criteria required to ensure the plan for assessment includes the necessary criteria to assess. Using various methods of assessment in a combined manner but only when the learner has shown they are ready to be assessed. Decide which assessment methods would be the most useful to gather the required work. Working with the learner, deciding on what resources such as equipment or rooms would be needed and arranging these details with the learner`s supervisor/manager so that required parties are aware of the intended assessment. Also ensuring that the assessment allows the required time to complete the assessment and allow time that the necessary feedback is given.
3.4 – Summarise the types of risks that may be involved in assessment in own area of responsibility Before any assessment takes place the Health & Safety risk should be the main issue that no one is at risk of harm to their person. Where required all persons involved have the required licence or qualification to conduct the required work. Another key area to be aware is that of equality and diversity to enable all learners to be able to take part in the assessment by means of different methods, for various reasons where reasonable adjustment can be made for personal or medical issues. To also keep myself up to date with the tasks to be assessed in regard to regulation and industry requirement.
3.5 – Explain how to minimise risks through the planning process By ensuring all parties are aware of what is to take place during the assessment process stress can be reduced for all parties involved. Communication between all parties involved helps to make learners feel safe and secure in their learning environment also reducing stress.
Understand how to involve learners and others in assessment
4.1 – Explain the importance of involving the learner and others in the assessment process The assessment process is a crucial part of learning and involving others helps them to take ownership of that process. It helps them to reflect on their progress so far and plan ahead for future assessments. At the same time the involvement of others can aid the management of the assessing process for assessor and learner alike.
4.2 – Summarise types of information that should be made available to learners and others involved in the assessment process Learners should have access at all times to reports and assessments to maintain an honest and transparent process of learning, to allow the learner to improve where necessary or appeal against something in their report. This information should include the standard and criteria they are required to attain, how the assessor will gather evidence, the methods and planning involved.
Also all feedback sessions should be recorded and made available along with scheduling plans in order to meet at appropriate convenient times. Where appropriate that peer reviews are being used it is the assessors responsibility to ensure that the colleague concerned is aware of their requirements and that they are also aware of the criteria and standard to be achieved, most importantly to be fair and impartial in their review. Depending on the level of hierarchy the assessor may need to involve a supervisor or department manager to authorise time from the regular work the learner or to approve the use of rooms or equipment required for an assessment.
4.3 – Explain how peer and self-assessment can be used effectively to promote learner involvement and personal responsibility in the assessment of learning In the cases of peer and self assessment these can help learners to help each other with encouragement and opinion on how they are progressing with their study or general learning process. This can help learners to work out their strengths and weaknesses in order to improve where required. Where someone is actively involved in a learning process their learning progress is quicker than just watching what is happening around them. During peer assessment a learner is better equipped to understand what is expected of them and use this to work towards that achievement with the help of peer assessment. Peer assessment would be mainly used during formative assessment due to issues with validity and reliability amongst students but none the less can be used to inspire a learner to work harder during the learning process.
4.4 – Explain how assessment arrangements can be adapted to meet the needs of individual learners Reasonable adjustment may be made to an assessment on the grounds of disability, cultural/religious issues, work patterns or learning issues where language or technical competence may be a barrier to someone`s learning. Where possible all issues mentioned should be taken into account to ensure that no one feels penalised during their learning process. These could include fitting assessments around shift patterns to the suitability of a learner or being aware of that certain times are to be avoided during times to attend a place of worship or general prayers.
Understand how to make assessment decisions
5.1a – Explain how to judge whether evidence is – a) sufficient Sufficient evidence to be assessed should be measured against the criteria specified in the course requirements.
5.1b – Explain how to judge whether evidence is – b) authentic The authenticity of any work should be checked by comparing with other learners on the same course to look for signs of copying as well as the signed form of verification from each learner to say that they would submit only their own work.
5.1c – Explain how to judge whether evidence is – c) current All work submitted should be current and relative to the course being learnt and it is up to the assessor to be up to date with working practice and regulation as part of their CPD in order to assess effectively.
5.2a – Explain how to ensure that assessment decisions are – a) made against specified criteria Meetings with other assessors to compare work and that it meets requirements as specified can help to maintain standards are consistent throughout the process.
5.2b – Explain how to ensure that assessment decisions are – b) valid For an assessment decision to be valid the same outcome should be reached regardless of the assessor that marks the work, to this end the criteria required should have a clear direction on how to attain it for it to be achievable.
5.2c – Explain how to ensure that assessment decisions are – c) reliable For an assessment decision to be reliable, again other assessors should reach the same conclusion of the work submitted to a reliable standard of the set criteria requirement.
5.2d – Explain how to ensure that assessment decisions are – d) fair Assessment decisions should not be swayed by personal decisions either for or against a learner, giving an adverse decision based on learners religious beliefs would not be a fair decision. By sharing assessments with other assessors prejudicial decisions can be avoided and maintain a fair assessing structure during the learning process.
Understand quality assurance of the assessment process
6.1 – Evaluate the importance of quality assurance in the assessment process The use of quality assurance is vital to ensure an organised approach to the assessment process that is seen to operate in a fair manner to all learners at the same time providing instructors and assessors alike with a clear guide and procedure to work toward achieving. Where a rigid system is used to maintain standards expectations become plain and transparent for assessor and learner like making quality assurance so much more important.
6.2 – Summarise quality assurance and standardisation procedures in own area of practice Quality assurance and standardisation requires that the work of an assessor be checked via sampling during the delivery of all units of the qualification including the methods used to deliver them ensuring that relevant criteria is followed at all times, where 10% sampling of work would be considered an average amount for an experienced assessor. The more experience the assessor has the less requirement for sampling by way of their experience history, hence a newly qualified assessor would expect to have their work checked more regularly possibly 100% until it is felt that their reports are consistent enough to reduce sampling and this could vary depending on the individual assessor confidence and ability.
Quality assurance by the IQA is important to ensure quality and standardisation at all times in the learning process. All assessors should be monitored within a 6-12 month period dependent on the number of assessors and level of work to be carried out. At all times the Internal Verifier should be aware of security and confidential issues along with safety of all parties. This assurance process also provides a way to liaise with learners that their assessments requirements are being met to include the process system involved and to check on the progress they are making with the qualification.
6.3 – Summarise the procedures to follow when there are disputes concerning assessment in own area of practice. In the event a learner has an issue with the verdict of an assessor report the learner should write a formal letter of complaint to their internal verifier outlining their complaint. The assessor has a responsibility to help with any such appeal and that any supporting evidence to the complaint should be submitted at the same time. A panel of the Internal Verifier and two assessors will review the complaint and reassess the work involved. Within seven days of this the learner should receive written notification of the verdict of the panel. The Awarding Body External Verifier would be informed of any appeal as a point of courtesy with the possibility of the complainant meeting with the External Verifier. Depending on the Awarding Bodies involved an appeals process may go beyond this stage.
Understand how to manage information relating to assessment
7.1 – Explain the importance of following procedures for the management of information relating to assessment Induction records and completed assessments together with copies of assessor certificates and a record of assessor CPD are kept for three years in accordance with the data protection act 2003. This is to allow fair opportunity for appeals to be made to assessment decisions where a learner feels that a wrong decision was made. By keeping records for such purposes appeals processes are made easier by having all relevant information to hand, but hopefully by following quality assurance and standardisation systems these are minimised. The other key use of such records is to provide the necessary proof that assessments are performed fairly and consistently and made available for standardisation practice by internal and external quality assurance personnel.
7.2 – Explain how feedback and questioning contribute to the assessment process When correctly applied feedback and questioning of a learners progress can greatly help to improve confidence where required together with the enthusiasm and interest to maintain learning. The questioning and feedback should be descriptive, positive, objective and constructive in order to be effective in encouraging learners self improvement in which to add to their confidence and skills practice. Feedback should avoid negativity and be specific of its requirements to maintain a clear path of learning to follow.
Understand the legal and good practice requirements in relation to assessment 8.1 – Explain legal issues, policies and procedures relevant to assessment, including those for confidentiality, health, safety and welfare Before planning an assessment all the above issues should be taken into account, one of the most important being the Equality act 2010. It is illegal to discriminate on any of the nine protected characteristics within the act these are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
To avoid unnecessary risk, risk assessments should be carried out prior to the actual assessment this would incorporate the Health & Safety at work act. The 1998 Data protection act covers how information is stored, processed and used for individuals. At the same time it would not be right to discuss a learner progress with anyone but the IQA. All information relating to either personal or learning progress should remain private. Transparency and integrity although not a legal requirement has an important part to play, for the assessor to be truthful and honest at all times during the learning process. The learner should feel confident that the assessor is acting in their best interest at all times.
8.2 – Explain the contribution that technology can make to the assessment process Technology can help enormously to aid in the assessment process to record events for future reference on standardisation or appeals using video and/or audio equipment to do this. The same equipment is available to aid learners to complete work who may have difficulty writing but are able to show their ability through video or a recording where permissible. Computers are able to store and upload information with ease, at the same time leaving an electronic fingerprint of when this was all done providing unquestionable authenticity of who did what. This technology also allows for access and security to be greater controlled and to monitor the work of a plagiarist during learning.
8.3 – Evaluate requirements for equality and diversity and, where appropriate, bilingualism in relation to assessment Assessment plans should always be tailored to an individual need where elements of equality and diversity come in to the process, where learners spoken language may be an issue, clear written instructions may be used in conjunction with video aids to be clear on what is required of the learner. SMART targets, Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time related are a way of applying individual tasks in a controlled manner where equality and diversity may be an issue.
8.4 – Explain the value of reflective practice and continuing professional development in the assessment process Reflective practice and self assessment are part of the process of CPD looking back on our work and other assessors too. Keeping up to date on innovations and legal changes to the way an assessment is carried out as well as legal issues concerning the learners work. Discussing issues with other assessors can help to highlight points for improvement for all parties similarly where we are doing enough and to spend time looking at other areas for improving the CPD of assessors and those around us. Continuing Professional Development never stops and as we get older becomes more important to avoid a complacent attitude and keep up with new and modern trends.
Courtney from Study Moose