Assessing Learners in Lifelong Learning Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 August 2016

Assessing Learners in Lifelong Learning

Critical reflection is an important aspect of teaching and learning effectively; as stated by Petty (2009:520) ‘as you reflect, your ‘theory in use’ improves, and so you become not only more effective, but also more adaptable and better able to solve problems.’ Through critically reflecting on your own practice, you become more able as a teacher and thereby improving your learner’s ability to achieve. This unit will be exploring assessment by way of critical analysis and evaluation. 1.a) How you select and apply assessment types and methods to meet the needs of learners, ensuring that the assessment evidence that is produced is valid, reliable, sufficient, authentic and current. Due to the vast array of assessment types and methods available, it is important that I research effectively which assessment methods and types meet the needs of my learners. Within AS and A Level Psychology that I teach, there are formal assessment methods used at the end of topics and the course that are marked in accordance with AQA guidelines.

These tend to be similar methods of summative assessment, including mock exams and essays, as these are the most appropriate and effective methods of summative assessment in terms of what my learners need to know. However, upon exploring assessment in more details, it is clear that I could diversify in terms of the summative assessment methods I use. As stated within DTTLS Course Day Five Reflective Journal; ‘Whilst I am quite diverse with regards to formative assessment, I tend to use the same assessment methods with my learners for summative assessment. This is normally case studies and essays at the end of topics, and mock exams at the end of modules. Even though I understand that the reason I do this is to ensure that learners are prepared for their exam at the end of the year, I am not developing my learners as fully as I can.’ This has become an area of development for me for future planning and preparation; ‘As a result, I will be exploring ways to increase diversity within my summative assessment methods over the next few months.’ (DTTLS Course Day Five Reflective Journal).

Through exploring summative assessment and researching this in more detail, I have been able to use different methods of summative assessment to ensure that it meets the needs of learners and the course type; ‘The latter part of this session involved learners working together to present the three definitions of abnormality. In order to meet the needs of learners, I ensured that all learners were involved in presenting a different definition of abnormality than the one they completed the leaflet on. This is to ensure that learners get maximum exposure to the different definitions and are able analyse and evaluate at least two effectively.’ (Session 6 Self Evaluation Form, Individual Differences, 27/03/14).

Through mixing up the assessment methods, so that learners were able display what they had learnt through written English, verbally and using ICT to produce a PowerPoint presentation ensured that this form of summative assessment at the end of the topic meet the needs of all learners within my learning environment. By giving learners the opportunity to present the definitions of abnormality in a variety of ways at the end of a topic enabled me as a teacher to identify whether learners had acquired the correct type and quantity of knowledge, and by not giving them a mark or grade ensured that they did not feel in competition with each other, or that they were being compared to other peers by way of national standards (Petty, 2009).

By researching assessment and using a variety of formative assessment methods to assess learners during the courses and subjects that I run within my organisation, I am more able to identify those assessment methods that meet the needs of learners as well as the requirements of the course. This is supported by knowledge obtained on informal assessment. For example, ‘Such informal assessment includes question and answer to confirm understanding, which I use regularly throughout the session plans………..This is largely due to ensuring that I getting immediate feedback on what learners know so I can check understanding to ensure that all learners have grasped the concept, to work individually with learners that have not, and enable those learners that have to move on. This is to ensure that I am meeting all learners’ needs, and engaging learners effectively.’ (Session 7 and 8 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 27/06/14).

Ensuring that assessment types and methods are valid, current and reliable is an important factor and is an area I have identified for improvement within my own self reflections; ‘In order to ensure that I am assessing effectively, I should be reviewing my assessment methods regularly to ensure that they are fair, valid, reliable and ethical (Gravells, a. 2012). This will be an area of development for me for future sessions and topics.’ (Session 7 and 8 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 27/06/14). Through completion of DTTLS Day Courses, I have become more confident in identifying assessment methods that are valid; ‘Working with the whole group on assessment methods we currently use was an activity that was useful in exploring how we all use assessment, as well as reinforcing how I use assessment. When I was discussing an assessment method I used to test learners knowledge of validity and reliability, I felt more confident when encouraged by my other members of the group that it was a valid assessment method.’ (DTLLS Course, Day Five Reflective Journal).

Having discussed in detail assessment on Day Five DTLLS Course has given me more confidence in identifying current, reliable and up to date assessment methods; ‘Another group activity that I found helped to encourage deeper understanding and acquisition of knowledge of assessment was exploring what things assessment criteria should be. Within the group, we came up with some key words that we felt were important, such as validity, reliability, up to date/current, reliable, specific and achievable. Anne then put up on the window other things that assessment criteria should be, and this enabled me to acquire more knowledge about assessment criteria. I hadn’t thought about transparency as part of assessment criteria before, and thinking through the variety of topics within assessment criteria, I was able to understand more clearly expectations of assessment. As a result of this, I am becoming more aware within my teaching practice of why assessment is used and what assessment criteria are about.

I now feel more able to develop methods of assessment more effectively using this.’ (DTLLS Course, Day Five Reflective Journal). I feel that I am becoming more aware of how to use assessment within my teaching and learning so that it is effective, reliable, and current and meets the needs of learners. Trying out assessment methods and types is an area that I have been exploring, as supported by evidence within self reflections; ‘Trying out different assessment methods is supported by Petty, G (2009), whereby through trial and error of resources, teaching and learning methods and assessment, we are able to, as practitioners, develop learners holistically and enable them to achieve their full potential.’ (Session 5 and 6 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 26/06/14).

Through trial and error, I have been able to adapt session plans and schemes of work to ensure that a variety of assessment types and methods are used; ‘Within the session plans that I have created, I have given myself various opportunities to assess learners. Having explored the difference between formal and informal assessment has enabled me to become more confident in how I assess learners; I use a variety of informal assessments throughout my session plans’ (Session 7 and 8 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 27/06/14)

1.b) ways of using peer and self assessment to promote learner involvement and personal responsibility in the assessment for and of their learning

Throughout my teaching and learning practice, I regularly use self and peer assessment to promote learner involvement; ‘I also observe learners when they are peer assessing, completing activities through role play or discussion so I can see informally how learners are getting to grips with knowledge and whether they are able to apply it effectively.’ (Session 7 and 8 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 27/06/14). Looking at prior self-evaluations and self-reflections has enabled me to focus on peer-assessment specifically within my teaching practice; ‘Through exploring previous self-evaluations, and identifying areas of development, I focused on identifying ways to encourage more peer assessment.’ (Session 5 and 6 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 25/06/14). When identifying ways to introduce peer and self-assessment, it is important to ensure that any disadvantages are considered and thought through; ‘Through researching both self and peer assessment, it has been indicated that learners are more likely to be harder on themselves than on others (Hillier, Y 2002. ‘Reflective Teaching in further and adult education)’ (Session 5 and 6 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 25/06/14).

The research that I have conducted into peer assessment gave me the knowledge to trial it as an assessment method within my teaching practice; ‘In order for learners to feel more confident, as well as give them new ways to reflect and assess on others work and equip them with more life skills, and a as result of the research I have undertaken, I opted to explore the use of peer assessment more regularly first. Within my session plan, there were several ways that I enabled this to take place. For example, when learners were trying to meet learning objective ‘Demonstrate understanding of relationship breakdown through research and context’ learners had the opportunity to present findings back to the class, and other learners to give feedback.’ (Session 5 and 6 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 25/06/14). This activity enabled learners to assess each other’s learning within the session, and gave them the opportunity to critically consider other learner’s work.

Within this session, I have also shown how peer assessment can be used to promote learner involvement; ‘This worked quite well, as learners were very positive about their peers, but due to having spent nearly a year with this class, most felt comfortable to give constructive feedback. I was surprised at the level of maturity that learners displayed, and everyone participated well.’ (Session 5 and 6 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 25/06/14). Self-assessment also has many advantages as an assessment method within teaching and learning; When supporting learners to achieve objective ‘demonstrate understanding of learning objectives’ they were given key questions to answer, and then a model answer sheet for learners themselves to ascertain whether they had been correct. This enabled the learners within my classroom to clarify goals and make a judgement about their own work (Petty, 2009).’ (Session 3 and 4 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 25/06/14).

Through self- assessment, learners within this session developed skills that they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to; ‘learners discussed with their peers their answers, and this encouraged deeper thinking, and therefore, retention, about what they had learnt in this session.’ (Session 3 and 4 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 25/06/14). It also gave learners personal responsibility for their learning; ‘It appeared that giving learner’s responsibility for their own learning through self-assessment motivated them to do well.’ (Session 3 and 4 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 25/06/14).

Throughout exploring self and peer-assessment with my learners, I have been able to promote learning, motivate learners and engage them for significant amounts of time; ‘Through self and peer assessment in these sessions, it is clear that learners are more engaged and making significant progress in understanding what emotional and physical health is, as well as identifying when emotional or physical health is not at its optimum level.’ (Session 5 and 6 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 26/06/14) I have been able to identify many benefits to learners through the use of self and peer-assessment, and will be continuing to use and develop these as assessment methods within my session plans and schemes of work.

1.c) how questioning and feedback contributes to the assessment process Questioning and feedback contribute to the assessment process in a variety of ways. Within the learning environment itself, questioning techniques have been shown to have positive impact on learners progress in terms of assessment; ‘I used questioning techniques, such as prompting and re-directing when learners were not relating feedback specifically to the presentation, and this enabled learners to stay on track (Reece and Walker, 2007).’ (Session 5 and 6 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 25/06/14). This enables learners to engage in the topic at hand and successfully complete the assessment activity. Questioning effectively also enables learners to identify areas that they need to acquire more knowledge on, and to identify how they are doing in terms of assessment Tummons, 2011). Through research and knowledge acquired on assessment and questioning, ‘I have been able to encourage learners to think more deeply by how I question them based on knowledge obtained from concepts on deep and surface learning (Reece, I. And Walker, S. 2007). (Session 7 and 8 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 27/06/14)

This has contributed positively to the assessment process as learners are re-directed and re-focused to the topic at hand, and are given immediate feedback on their discussions via questioning. Feedback to learners is an important part of the assessment process, as it enables learners to develop and grow by providing them with constructive information about how they are doing and how they could do better, as well as providing guidance and support where needed (Tummons, 2011). It is important that feedback given is positive and constructive, and that learners do not feel demoralised or overwhelmed as a result of feedback; Learners that were presenting were pleased with their feedback, and also had areas for development for future presentations.’ (Session 5 and 6 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 25/06/14).

I have researched the importance of feedback to learners and have tried to ensure throughout my teaching and learning practice that I give effective feedback to learners; ‘I was able to provide constructive feedback to learners one on one as well as a group, supporting their discussion and providing appropriate feedback so that learners were able to identify if they were completing the activity correctly, and support and guidance given to them if they were not. I am realising the importance of feedback from and to learners and am exploring ways to increase formative assessment throughout the session so that I can pick up learner’s difficulties more quickly and get them back on track (Hillier, Y 2005. ‘Reflective Teaching in Further and Adult Education’).’ (Session 4 and 5 Self Evaluation Form, Individual Differences, 25/03/14). Feedback from the learners themselves is an important aspect of the assessment process, as without their input, it would be very difficult as a practitioner to identify what your learners enjoyed, engaged in, found difficult etc…. Feedback should be clear and unambiguous, understood by learners, timely, and delivered appropriately (Tummons, 2011).

I continually ask learners for feedback through the courses and subjects that I deliver to ensure that assessment is effective and meets requirements of feedback as stated above; ‘Following previous self-reflections completed within my teaching file on evaluation of topics, I asked all learners to complete an anonymous evaluation at the end of the last session in order for learners to let me know their views on how the session had been planned and delivered, the use of resources, assessment at the beginning, during and at the end of the topic, and how inclusive teaching and learning approaches were within the sessions.’ (Session 7 and 8 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 27/06/14).

I have found that, by asking learners for feedback, it increases their self-esteem and confidence, as they feel that they have an input into how they are being taught and assessed, and this in turn, has a positive impact on their motivation, which is an important aspect of feedback that I have noted within self-reflections; I will be using comments made within their feedback for future sessions, as it is important for learners to feel that they are being listened to, and how they feel they work best (Armitage et al, 2012. ‘Teaching and Training in Lifelong Learning’). (Session 5 and 6 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 25/06/14). Lastly, questioning and feedback not only contributes to the assessment process, but to my own professional development, and how I provide feedback to others; ‘It also gave me insight into critical evaluation of myself and others; this task enable me to explore giving feedback to others and being able to do so supportively, and positively’.(Day Four Reflective Journal)

2.a) the assessment requirements and related procedures of your learning programme

The learning programme that I regularly teach within my organisation is AQA AS and A level Psychology. This learning programme is subject to assessment requirements as defined by AQA and I ensure that schemes of work and session plans are completed accurately to ensure that assessment can take place that is accurate and specific to the programme requirements; ‘The planning of this session was done in accordance with scheme of work that has been produced by myself in line with AQA specification requirements. As a result of this, I have specific aims to meet in a set period of time, which does not give me much room to be creative.’ (Session 1 Self Evaluation Form, Individual Differences, 20/03/14). As mentioned within this quote, it is important to ensure that I am knowledgeable about types and methods of assessment so that I am able to complete activities and tasks that are relevant and valid for learners as well as the programme.

It is also important that I ensure that all requirements of each topic within AS and A Level Psychology are met; this means that it can be difficult to ensure that learners have a deeper understanding of a topic and to develop skills such as critical analysis and evaluation, but it is an area of development for me for future topics and Psychology courses; ‘The planning enabled me to meet AQA specification requirements, but it did not enable learners to discuss Psychopathology in detail and therefore gain a deeper understanding of it. As a result of this, I will be exploring more ways in which I can do this next year.’ (Session 1 Self Evaluation Form, Individual Differences, 20/03/14).

2.b) How you carry out and record assessments to meet internal and external processes and requirements

There are a variety of ways in which I carry out and record assessments to meet internal and external processes and requirements. Within my organisation, our internal processes are in line with external process in terms of assessment, which provides a consistent approach and overview to how learners are assessed. For example, AQA has a mark scheme in accordance with how they mark specific elements of the Psychology Course. I have used this within activities used for assessment, such as through PSYA2 Individual Differences; Assessment for Learning Booklet (appendix one). This booklet enables me to assess how learners are doing throughout the topic of Individual Differences, and within the Scheme of Work for this topic; there are opportunities for learners to complete parts of this booklet. During Session 7 Monday 31st March, the assessment activity is ‘to complete pages 1-8 of PSYA2: Individual Differences Assessment for Learning Booklet.’

Each section is marked and I record learner’s marks in my teaching and learning assessment folder. These marks are also evident within learners Individual Learning Plans, which are introduced at the beginning of the year for each learner, and developed partly due to information acquired throughout the DTLLS course; ‘I have had one to one sessions with all learners since Day Two DTLLS to review their individual learning plans, and this has enabled me to see if all earners are on track, progressing, and if not, why not? As a result of this, further support for some learners has been identified and learners can see that I am keeping track of where they are and that, most importantly, I am interested in how they are doing.’ (DTLLS Course, Day Two Reflective Journal). However, it is clear from exploring self reflections from DTLLS Day courses and my teaching portfolio that I do not evidence how I carry out and record assessments in detail, and this is an area for development for me for future self reflections.

2.c) How you communicate assessment information to other professionals with an interest in learner achievement It is important, when conducting assessment, that it is shared with colleagues appropriately within the organisation that I work in. Through training days that are held within my organisation, I have ensured that colleagues have appropriate information given to them in regards to assessment, particularly with regards to sharing good practice and exploring how we can effectively assess our learners; ‘Within discussions had on assessment on this training day, we explored sharing assessment information with colleagues. Having thought about this and looking at how this is currently done within my organisation enabled me to come up with a few ideas to ensure effective communication and support for assessment within the sixth form. I have discussed this in more detail within my review of teaching and consider it important enough for learner’s progress to identify it as a development need for teaching practice’. (DTLLS Course, Day Five, Reflective Journal).

Through communicating assessment information to others, I have become aware of the need to do this more regularly to ensure that all relevant colleagues and professionals have up to date information regarding assessment, as well as providing support and development within assessment for all; ‘I have become more aware of communicating assessment information to colleagues and other relevant people within my organisation. Whilst we have meetings and do discuss learner’s progress, I feel that it would be useful to have a professional development session once a term to share good practice on assessment and learners progress and ensure the session was interactive, and that staff could share resources and assessment methods with others.’ (DTLLS Course, Day Five Reflective Journal). Following this, sixth form meetings now take place once every half term in which assessment is the sole agenda item. This has enabled all colleagues to place importance on assessment, and encourages colleagues to develop assessment types, methods and practice for the benefit of the learners, as well as the sixth form as a whole.

3.a) ways in which minimum core elements can be demonstrated and applied in assessing learners in own specialist area Throughout my teaching and learning practice, I identified early on my limited knowledge of Minimum Core. Since starting the DTLLS Course, I have had many opportunities to demonstrate and apply minimum core in assessing learners in my own specialist area of Psychology AS and A level. I regularly show my capabilities in terms of evidencing some areas of the Minimum Core, such as writing and language; ‘I felt that I demonstrated writing within the minimum core well, by presenting information on PowerPoint and through Abnormality booklet clearly, effectively, with a font size and type that was easy to read and legible, as well as using appropriate language that was in line with learners ability.’ (Session 2 and 3 Self Evaluation Form, Individual Differences, 24/03/14). The Abnormality booklet was designed to be used as an assessment activity, for learners to work through during the course, and supports the use of Minimum Core and application to assessing learners.

I have also been able to recognise areas of development within the Minimum Core and have worked on these to ensure that learners within my classroom are benefiting from valid and up to date assessment; ‘However, it is clear that there is a lack of numeracy within my session plans, and this is an area of development for future sessions.’ (Session 2 and 3 Self Evaluation Form, Individual Differences, 24/03/14). Following this, I researched numeracy within the Minimum Core and how I could apply it within my teaching and learning practice, in particular to assessment; ‘One of my areas for development in previous sessions (Session 2 and 3 self-evaluation form Individual Differences) was to research ways to increase numeracy as part of the minimum core………. I explored ways in which I could do this………………. I ensured that I communicated processes within drug therapies and treatment of schizophrenia effectively, by use of video as well as practical demonstrations that I completed during this session.

I also put drug treatment and treating schizophrenia into context and supporting learners to make sense of this and how it could be represented by exploring key studies, as well as analysing and evaluating drug treatment as a valid approach. This enabled learners to compile evidence, with support, and to think through processes logically to enable them to develop their learning skills.’ (Session 9 and 10 Self Evaluation Form, Individual Differences, 01/04/14). By using numeracy within the formative assessment activity as described above, enabled me to effectively demonstrate use of the Minimum Core within assessment. As a result of becoming more aware of numeracy within Minimum Core, I now feel more confident to demonstrate competency of this within the learning environment and within application of assessment activities for learners; ‘I did use diagrams during this session, and this supported numeracy within the Minimum Core, as I evaluated and assessed the diagram, made decisions concerning content knowledge and skills to ensure pupils were able to understand the concept of the diagram, and selected appropriate format and style to communicate this to pupils (through use of diagram).’ (Session 12 to 15 Self Evaluation Form, Individual Differences, 07/04/14 and 09/04/14).

Due to extensive research on the Minimum Core and how to apply this within my own specialist area, I have become more competent in a variety of areas, including demonstrating competency within language and ICT; ‘As stated in previous self-evaluations, I have found it difficult to differentiate between minimum core and functional skills, and having researched this, as well as using the information gleaned from DTLLS Day 4, I am becoming more confident in doing this. For example, I can evidence personal ICT skills, personal language skills and explicit knowledge about active listening within minimum core for future sessions (Lifelong Learning UK, 2007 ‘Inclusive Learning Approaches for literacy, language, numeracy and ICT).’ (Session 3 and 4 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 24/06/14).

However, I also recognise that further development is needed within this area to ensure that I am skilled, capable and experienced with regards to Minimum Core and its application to assessment; ‘This will be an area of development for me for future sessions, as I am still not confident in evidencing this and will need to ensure an adequate time frame and approach to gain more knowledge and evidence this successfully.’ (Session 3 and 4 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 24/06/14).

4.a) the effectiveness of own assessment practice taking account of the views of learners

It is important, when looking at assessment, to explore the effectiveness of my own assessment practice taking account of the views of learners. I regularly ask learners for feedback on the session that they have completed, and value their input with regards to teaching and learning; ‘I also asked the learners how they found this resource and what I could do differently next time. Learners were pleasantly surprised that I had asked them; they stated that they were not used to teachers asking them for feedback and stated it made them feel valued. I resolved to ensure that I do this more regularly, as I understand the importance of learner feedback to ensure that they reach their full potential and I am able to become more successful in my teaching and learning practice.’ (Session 6 Self Evaluation Form, Individual Differences, 27/03/14). Input from learners on the AS and A Level Psychology Course that I run has an impact on how I complete assessment, and the effectiveness of assessment methods used. It is clear through exploring self reflections that I use a variety of assessment types of methods, as supported by quotes from self reflections within this assignment.

However, learner feedback on individual vs. group assessment methods showed that; ‘[learners] enjoyed group work as opposed to independent work on tasks or activities; learners stated that they preferred working with their friends, as they were more comfortable and it enabled them to discuss the task more confidently.’ (Session 5 and 6 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 25/06/14). Whilst it is important that learners are listened to, I need to ensure that I balance this up with evidence and knowledge gained through research and support from colleagues and tutors;’ However, it is also important to note that moving learners out of their comfort zone enables them to use skills they might not know they had, and give them the opportunity to grow and become expert learners (The Excellence Gateway Treasury, [online] Available at: http://tlp.excellencegateway.org.uk/tlp/xcurricula/el/ ). ‘ (Session 5 and 6 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 25/06/14).

I also ensure that I explore the effectiveness of my own assessment practice throughout self reflections completed as part of the DTLLS Course; ‘Due to regularly assessing learners work and activities that they participate in, it is clear that learners meet objectives and progress through the course, but I need to explore different ways to assess to enable pupils to become expert learners and challenge them more (Day Five DTLLS Course).’ (Session 3 and 4 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 24/06/14). I am able to identify areas for development, as shown in the quote above, as well as areas in which I am effective with regards to assessment; ‘My observation report clearly shows that I use formative assessment during sessions, as well as informal summative assessment through the plenary from the first part of the session. This ensures that I know where my learners are at before starting the second session, so I am able to adapt or change any part of the session plan or resources if required to ensure all learners have grasped the concepts they are required to know before moving on.’ (Session 3 and 4 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 24/06/14).

Whilst completing this DTLLS Course, it is clear that I understand the importance of assessment and its effectiveness, as well as demonstrating ways in which I can ensure that assessment is effective within my teaching and learning practice; ‘I recognise more and more the importance of assessment, and am more aware of how I use assessment and the effectiveness of this within my session plans and on how learners learn. As stated by Gibbs (cited in Bryan, C and Klegg, K 2006. ‘Innovative Assessment in Higher Education’); ‘Assessment has more impact on learning than teaching’ and this is something that I consider more often when constructing session plans and putting them into practice. For example, written English ensures that I have evidence of concepts that learners have grasped and how effectively they have managed to do so, and this feeds into future session plans.’ (Session 7 and 8 Self Evaluation Form, Positively Girls, 27/06/14).

4.b) ways to improve own assessment practice

Having had the opportunity to explore self reflections from DTLLS Day Courses and my teaching portfolio, I have been able to identify ways in which I can improve my own assessment practice. With regards to assessment types, I have identified initial assessment as an area of improvement within my professional practice; ‘I have since been exploring ways in which I can use initial assessment with my next cohort of learners who will start in September to identify skills of new learners, find out more about them and how I can support their needs.’ (DTTLS Course, Day Two Reflective Journal). It is also important to remember where and how initial assessment occurs, to ensure that learners come into an environment that is comfortable, engaging, well signposted and is inviting; ‘It helped me to think about how learners enter my learning environment- were reception friendly? Do they feel comfortable? Were people rude or welcoming to them?

I did not put much thought into this before, I think I had focused too much on learners first impressions when they meet me and come into the learning environment. This has led to me thinking of the bigger picture and discussing with colleagues how we run sixth form induction days, open days etc……’ (DTLLS Course, Day Three Reflective Journal) I could also improve my own assessment practice by diversifying with regards to types of assessment; ‘When looking at how I used assessment within this session, it is clear that I tend to use the same types of assessment; observation, written English, through completion of tasks and question and answer to confirm understanding. Whilst these are all relevant assessment methods, it is important to ensure that I am creating diversity in my assessment method to ensure all learners can achieve.’ (Session 3 and 4 Self Evaluation Form, Relationships, 24/06/14). Ensuring that I have a clear understanding of assessment methods and researching the variety of methods will enable me to provide variety to learners with regards to assessment.

Lastly, I have found that through completing self reflections, that I am able to critically consider how I use assessment within my teaching practice and am always striving to develop myself with regards to this; ‘Evaluating each session during this topic is enabling me to critically consider the teaching and learning approaches I use, as well as assessment and learner involvement. This benefits not only me but the learners within my sessions, and I will strive to complete self evaluations more often to improve my teaching practice.’ (Session 4 and 5 Self Evaluation Form, Individual Differences, 25/03/14).

Conclusion

There are many ways in which I explore assessment, and completing this critical reflection has enabled me to identify where I complete assessment well, such as meeting learner’s needs through assessment methods and types, and demonstrating competency within minimum core, as well as identifying areas for improvement, such as carrying out and recording assessment information. It is important that I continue to critically reflect on my own practice to ensure that I am applying theory gained to practice in teaching and learning, and developing myself as a practitioner;’

Reflecting on my teaching practice has enabled me to think more critically about how I………………… meet the needs of learners, how I challenge learners but ensure that they are not overwhelmed, how I ensure I meet equality and diversity needs within the classroom, and how I assess.’ (Session 12 to 15 Self Evaluation Form, Individual Differences, 07/04/14 and 09/04/14). As stated by Tummons (2007:71) ‘if we use our reflective practice to explore critically the assumptions and preconceptions on which we base our training and teaching practice, we can build on our understanding of learning and teaching and enhance our professional knowledge.’

References

Gravells, A (2012) Preparing To Teach In The Lifelong Learning Sector. London: Routledge. Hiller, Y (2005) Reflective Teaching in Further and Adult Education. Continuum; London. Petty, G (2009) (4th Edn) Teaching Today. London: Cheltenham Nelson Thornes. Reece, I. Walker, S. (2007) (6th Edn) Teaching, training and learning: A Practical Guide. Tyne and Wear: Business Education Publishers Ltd. Tummons, J (2011) (3rd Edn) Assessing Learning in the Lifelong Learning Sector London: Learning Matters Tummons, J. (2007) Becoming a Professional Tutor in the Lifelong Learning Sector. London: Learning Matters Jones, P. (2014) Session One Individual Differences; Psychopathology. Introduction to Psychopathology (20/03/14) Jones, P. (2014) Session Two and Three Individual Differences; Psychopathology. Definitions of Abnormality (24/03/14) Jones, P. (2014) Session Four and Five Individual Differences; Psychopathology. Failure to Function and Definitions of Abnormality (25/03/14) Jones, P. (2014) Session Six Individual Differences; Psychopathology. Presentations on Definitions of Abnormality (27/03/14) Jones, P. (2014) Session Nine and Ten Individual Differences; Psychopathology. Biological Approaches and Therapies (01/04/14) Jones, P. (2014) Session Twelve to Fifteen Individual Differences; Psychopathology. Evaluation and Analysis (07/04/14 and 09/04/14). Jones, P. (2014) Positively Girls Self Evaluation Session Three and Four; Stress, Worries and Relaxation (25/06/14) Jones, P. (2014) Positively Girls Self Evaluation Session Five and Six; Emotional and Physical Wellbeing (26/06/14) Jones, P. (2014) Positively Girls Self Evaluation Session Seven and Eight; Friendship and Communication (27/06/14) Jones, P. (2014) Session Three and Four A Level Psychology; Maintenance of Relationships Self Evaluation (24/06/14)

Jones, P. (2014) Session Five and Six A Level Psychology; Breakdown of Relationships Self Evaluation (25/06/14) Jones, P. (2014) Reflective Journal Day Two (February 2014)
Jones, P. (2014) Reflection Journal Day Five (May 2014)

Appendix One; PSYA2 Individual Differences; Assessment for Learning Booklet

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