Assessment is the act of appraisal, assessing or evaluation of the achievement of a student on a course (Johnson, Mims-Cox, & Doyle-Nichols, 2006). Similarly, Gravells (2013) defined assessment as the act of judging something or the process of observing students behavior samples and drawing inferences about the abilities and knowledge of the students. Educational assessment, on the other hand, is the process of documenting beliefs, attitudes, skills and knowledge usually in measurable terms. The educational assessment can focus on the learning community, individual learner, the education system, and the institution.
When the teachers are doing assessments, they look at the behavior of the student’s by using variety of types of assessment in order to get the most accurate of the overall progress of the students (SQA, 2014).
The purposes of types of assessment used in education and training
Individual assessment-this is conducted prior intervention or instruction to establish the basis from which the individual growth of the student can be measured. The purpose of this type of assessment is to know the skill level of the student about a project and in helping the teacher in explaining the material more efficiently (SQA, 2001).
Formative assessment- this is carried out throughout the project or course in general. The purpose of formative assessment is to aid learning and provide the teacher with the feedback of the work of the students (SQA, 2014).
Summative assessment- this is carried out at the end of the project or course generally and are evaluative in nature. The purpose of summative assessment is to assign a course grade to the students and to summarize everything the students have learnt and in finding out if they understood it well.
Diagnostic assessment- the purpose of diagnostic assessment is to improve the experience of the learner and their achievement level (SQA, 2014).
Informal assessment- these result from the day-to-day spontaneous observations of the teachers of how the students perform and behave in class. The purpose of informal assessment is for the teacher to learn important insights into the abilities, inabilities and misconceptions of the students that might not be accurately represented through other formal assessments (SQA, 2001).
The effectiveness of assessment methods used in education and training in relation to meeting the individual needs of learners
Observation- formative peer observation helps in the improvement of teaching (Johnson, Mims-Cox, & Doyle-Nichols, 2006). Summative peer observation, on the other hand, involves evaluation of the effectiveness of teaching used for tenure, promotion and merit of decisions. Peer classroom observations are effective because they offer insights regarding improvement of the individual needs of the learners and in improvement of teaching. Moreover, the teachers will gain new perspectives and ideas about teaching through observation from their colleagues. This will improve the ability of teaching (Johnson, Mims-Cox, & Doyle-Nichols, 2006)
questioning- it is one of the assessment methods used by teaches naturally daily in classroom in testing whether the learners have, understood, learnt and progressed ultimately against the defined learning objectives at the start of the session (Gravells, 2013).
Tests- these are undertaken while the learning of the students is taking place with the purpose of improving learning and teaching of the individual students. They are effective since it capture the progress of the student in a program or in the institution (SQA, 2001).
Professional discussion- it provides a holistic approach when conducting knowledge assessment and understanding. The method is useful and effective in determining the performance of the candidate and also the candidates’ abilities in decision making and analysis. SQA (2001) asserted that professional discussion method is one of the best ways of testing reliability and validity of the candidates evidence
Witness testimony- it is one of the most reliable evidence resources if the witness is authentic. It is effective and a useful tool in helping in authentication of the evidence that the claim of the candidates have produced (SQA, 2014).
Assignment- this is a problem solving exercise having clear structure, guidelines and specified length. According to Johnson, Mims-Cox, & Doyle-Nichols (2006), assignment is specifically suited to the learning outcomes assessment concerned with application of the learning skills and the knowledge and understanding related to a situation involving management of tasks. Assignment is effective as an assessment method since its development is relatively straightforward. It can also access a wide range of both practical and cognitive competencies, furthermore, it provides the candidates with a good opportunity of demonstrating initiatives. Lastly, Gravells (2013) stated that it can be used in integrating assessment across units and outcomes.
Case study- according to SQA (2014), it consists of an event description normally in a text, electronic recording or a picture that concerns real situation. The case study is then followed multiple instructions prompting the candidate to analyze the situation, identify core issues and make conclusions before making suggestions or decisions on the course of action. Case studies are effective because it provides good opportunities for the learners to exercise skills in decision making and problem solving. Moreover, it allows the learners to demonstrate skills in time management, information gathering and analysis.
Projects- this is an essay substantially written, treating issue or subjects in depth in a formal and methodological manner. The project is always based on literature research for the subject or even original research. Project assessment methods are effective in testing the ability of the learners in applying knowledge critically, evaluating evidence from different sources and drawing valid conclusions from the evidence and finally presenting their ideas in a coherent and clear report (SQA, 2001). Moreover, projects are effective since they allow scope for self-expression, and tests skill of higher order.
The internal and external assessment requirements and related procedures of learning programs
Internal and awarding organization’s requirements
The school setting or a learning institution accepts the drive of improving teaching by making sure that the assessment serve the teaching purpose, and that the teaching is not negatively affected by assessments put in place for accountability. According to Johnson, Mims-Cox, & Doyle-Nichols (2006), successful teaching is grounded on evidence and are produced by learners during the activities of learning and in assessments, that shows whether;
a learner has understood and learned and is capable of applying in different situation
despite many attempts of learning and teaching, a learner has not yet understood and showed achievement
a learner is ready for learning
teaching and learning have not yet been successful
According to Gravells (2013), the assessors need to keep their assessment records they have undertaken on the learners. It is necessary to keep records because it allows tracking of the learners’ progress. Moreover, the external and internal verifiers will use the records in helping them in selecting sample decision of assessments for review. Lastly, the records can also be usd when monitoring the quality assurance activities in the school center.
Learners tracking as a related procedure of learning program is significant to the assessor in thinking about the leaner during the assessment. According to SQA (2014), in tracking the learner, the assessor need to reflect on the following questions on the way of involving and tracking the learner in the process of assessment. This encourages a sense of ownership to the process of learning:
Does the process of assessment match the knowledge acquisition sequence, and skills development in the training/learning program?
Have the assessor avoided excessive assessment by making a consideration on the learners’ workloads in across and within subjects?
Have the assessor reduce over assessment by finding opportunities of combining the assessments?
Can the assessor identify instances of evidence that are naturally occurring?
Is the required time for assessment realistic?
Have the assessor considered using the e-assessment?
In the educational system, it is very important to know the extent of the progress towards objectives, aims and levels, and therefore the assessment concentrate often on finding out how much have been learnt by the learners. This is either done formally or informally. According to SQA (2001), in worst cases, this assessment type intensifies focus on the accountability disregarding the teaching quality.
Johnson, Mims-Cox, & Doyle-Nichols (2006) indicated that if there is a lot of pressure of achieving targets and to showing progress to the parents, it is likely that the teaching will imitate assessment. Gravells (2013) asserted that this is when the assessment negatively influences teaching.
They monitor progress of the learners and the assessment and are presented as a tool of improving teaching. This suggests that identifying reasons and remedies is practically the same as identifying gaps. At best, quality systems provide profile that use fine grained on common curriculum, and offer activities for remediation that are online (SQA, 2001).
The ways in which minimum core elements can be demonstrated in assessing learners.Minimum core according to SQA (2014) is a way in which the tutor imbedding the functional skills to the learners such as English and mathematics. This can be achieved in different ways such as use of electronic white board activities that promotes ICT skills and English and allow students to a more present approach. Similarly, handouts can be used to ensure the learners have a direction and quantity in learning.
The effectiveness of my own assessment practice
The most significant factor in meeting the learners’ needs is understanding their individual learning requirements and needs. In my assessment practice, this has been my foundation for achievement especially the classroom environment. Currently in my practice, I have a group of 30 students, and therefore individual assessment of each and every student needs an understanding of each individual need and support for them to achieve the set objectives. My assessment has been effective since I have used multiple assessment methods such as observation and professional discussion hence allowing my students to achieve maximally and holistically.
Moreover, my assessment practice has been effective because my rate of course completion is high, student satisfaction is excellent and the direct feedback I get from the industry has been positive. Moreover, I believe my assessment method is excellent because I do keep personal records of my resources and the instructional strategies I applied during my practice that were either useful or not useful.
Lastly, I do participate in the informal and formal assessment and moderation in addition to undertaking professional development such as the PD program which I hope will help me in building continuous improvement in my practice.
Areas for improvement in your own assessment practice
Currently in my practice, there are also some areas that needs improvement. During my practice, I always ensure that I have enough resources in meeting the learners’ needs and for each of the units they learn. The first area that needs improvement is development of new resources and the learning processes since the resources available are limited. The organization where I practice need to put proper measures of ensuring that the resources are available for proper learning and assessment of the learners
Secondly, I believe I need to improve on adopting the online and digital method of assessments like the e-assessments. This is because of their reliability compared to other methods. Moreover, e-assessment is easy to use where there are many learners. Moreover, it is easy to make comparison of the assessments results from different learners than using observation method in conducting the assessments.
I also think that I should involve my students more in the assessment process than before, and monitor their skill development and progress. This is because the learners are involved in the training because they want to develop knowledge and skills that is needed to compare their training course, get the credentials and then apply their skills in their places of work.
In conclusion, the essay report discussed the research carried out on assessing learners in education and training. It discussed the purposes of different types of assessment, and analyzed the effectiveness of different assessment methods in relation to meeting the individual needs of the learners. Moreover, I identified the internal and external assessment requirements and related procedures of learning programs. The report also analyzed the ways in which minimum core elements in assessing learners can be demonstrated. Finally, the report reflected on what I have done and presented an evaluation that reviewed the effectiveness of my own assessment practice, taking account of the views of learners and others. Furthermore, it identified areas for improvement in my own assessment practice.
Gravells, A. (2013). The award in education and training. Los Angeles, California: SAGE.
Johnson, R. S., Mims-Cox, J. S., & Doyle-Nichols, A. (2006). Developing portfolios in education: A guide to reflection, inquiry, and assessment. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.
Scottish Qualifications Authority. (2001). Guide to internal moderation for SQA centres. Glasgow: Scottish Qualifications Authority. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCIQFjAA&url=http://www.sqa.org.uk/files_ccc/ProfessionalDiscussion.pdf&ei=VlqiVKuqGoOAzAOPs4CQCw&usg=AFQjCNEmQ0k81HwhkjtiYiU__r2ft3ZbZA&sig2=UQ4WNDtx642VM1OKCk6wUA&bvm=bv.82001339,d.ZGUScottish Qualifications Authority. (2014).Internal Assessment, External Assessment, and Assessment for Learning — a think piece for those involved in developing assessments. (2014, January 1). Retrieved December 30, 2014, from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCkQFjAB&url=http://www.sqa.org.uk/files_ccc/25GuideToAssessment.pdf&ei=VlqiVKuqGoOAzAOPs4CQCw&usg=AFQjCNHimFgXezPk-X8HlGSKZW94HkSMiA&sig2=iFz8zIK5iTW2A_b17JdJqQ&bvm=bv.82001339,d.ZGU