Assessment is the process of measuring the achievement of learners. It is an obvious way of checking that learning has taken place and is a good way of measuring the learner’s knowledge and practical skills that they have learnt. It is important for the assessor to initially establish whether the learner has any specific learning needs so that they can prepare to support the learner in whichever way they feel necessary. Learning and development are closely connected. The learner needs guidance in order to understand what it is they are required to learn, also to check that they are on track and also ways in which they can improve. This is generally where formative assessment comes into play.
Formative assessment is used whilst learners are developing their skills and can also be useful throughout their course. It gives the assessor the opportunity to provide the learner with constructive feedback which they can use to improve their future performances. It also allows the learner to build on their strengths and learn from mistakes by listening to the assessor’s feedback, preparing them for summative assessment. Summative assessment is used when the students are up to a standard where they can carry out an assessment without any support or guidance. This should be up to industry standards and completed to commercial timing. By this stage there should be very few, if any areas for improvement and the learner must have a very strong underpinning knowledge of the subject.
Define the key concepts and principles of assessment
It is vital that assessment has to be fair, consistent and valid to ensure all learners have an equal chance of receiving a fair assessment. An assessor should not be swayed to give a learner an easier assessment because they favour them or on grounds of gender, race, sexual orientation or religious beliefs; the assessment process should be the same for every learner and purely judged on their knowledge, skill and competence within their subject area. There may be occasions where the assessment process has to be adapted to suit learners’ individual needs; however this still should eventually lead to the same outcome. In order for an assessment to be fair the assessor should clearly identify to the learner what outcomes are being assessed so that there is no area for confusion between the learner and assessor. Assessors should take guidance from the awarding body that they work alongside for the assessment criteria, for example in my area of work; I have to abide by the criteria that is set out by VTCT.
To ensure that the evidence is sufficient the learner should successfully cover all of the criteria set out by the awarding body and by the industry in which they are working. The most reliable way to ensure that an assessment is valid and reliable is for the assessor to observe a student first hand. This is the clearest way for the assessor to be sure that the student possesses the knowledge that is shown in their work and that it has not been copied from another source. This evidence should also be current, so therefore the assessor would need to have witnessed this within a reasonable timeframe as things change so frequently. It is important for assessors to ensure that they are up to date with current trends and changes within their industry and all assessors are required to keep up to date with continual professional development. It is also vital that all assessors are assessing to the same standard, this is usually monitored and updated during team standardisation meetings which should be carried out regularly.
Explain the responsibilities of the assessor
An assessor should firstly fully understand the standards and requirements they are working to. This means that all assessors should be fully qualified to the required standard within their industry and should regularly attend team standardisation meetings to ensure they are assessing to the same standards as other assessors.
Courtney from Study Moose
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