Unit 1: Understanding the principles and practices of assessment – Indicative Content This unit is for those who wish to gain an understanding of the principles and practices of assessment before they begin to practically assess where their job role does not require them to assess. Title Understanding the principles and practices of assessment – This is a knowledge based unit which gives anyone who is interested in or needs to know about assessment and quality assurance the opportunity to acquire knowledge about the roles involved in this area of learning and development.
Scope of the unit Those who undertake this unit will have a better understanding of the function of assessment and will be able to weigh up the appropriateness of different types of assessment methods, so that assessment plans that are responsive to different learner needs and delivery contexts are developed and used. A key focus of the unit is to involve the learners in the assessment process so they see it as an integral part of their learning experience.
The unit emphasises the key role of being able to make assessment decisions that are based on assessment criteria. Those in the role of assessor need to appreciate the fundamental need to provide appropriate feedback to the learner along with data relating to learners’ progress towards achievement. To further appreciate how assessment practice and quality assurance are inextricably linked, assessors will contribute to accurate record keeping and ensure that they meet legal, equality and good practice requirements in relation to assessment.
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Understand the principles and requirements of assessment
Assessment criteria The learner can: 1.1. Explain the functions of assessment in learning and development (Give a general overview picking up points about the different types of qualifications that make up the QCF and that the assessment strategy is what defines them. NB unaccredited learning – still important to set aims and objectives and an assessment plan to ascertain whether these have been realised. Could be session objectives or learner objectives, whole group or individual).
Measurement and recording of achievement; judgements as to whether knowledge has been gained, skills been performed or attitudes developed/changed, how identification of individual learners’ needs takes place, usage of formative or summative assessment strategies; fit-for-purpose that reflect required standards and assessment criteria, importance of monitoring development, evidence for performance review/targets/benchmarking, contributing to quality assurance, development of best practice.
Who is it for – the learner/trainer/assessor/ organisation/employer, assessment as a part of the learning/training cycle/assessment cycle, for example to recognise prior learning, to identify specific assessment requirements, assessment of specific learning domains. Psychomotor/Cognitive/Affective – skills, knowledge or understanding,
Level Three and Four Awards and Certificates in Assessment and Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment of the syllabus? reliable: are the assessment decisions currently being made consistent with those made during past assessment opportunities or by other assessors? Fair and inclusive: are the assessment activities equitable.
Range of responsibilities which include those to the learner(s), the employer, following organisational or regulatory organisation procedures, the qualification guide, awarding organisation; practical responsibilities, for example planning, managing and delivering assessment according to Awarding/Examining Organisation requirements, agreeing assessment plans, giving constructive and developmental feedback to learners, reviewing learner progress towards achievement of targets/assessment plans liaising with others involved in the assessment process, actioning internal and external verifiers’ recommendations and conditions, making judgements as to whether criteria has been achieved, providing statistics to managers, maintaining the integrity of the qualification the safety and security of the award of credit, considering learner-centred assessment (equality issues dealing with barriers to fair assessment issues), signing witness testimonies, completing and maintaining safe and secure records, dealing with appeals made against own assessment decisions, maintaining own occupational competence, working towards relevant qualifications, standardising practice with other assessors.
Identify the regulations and requirements relevant to assessment in own area of practice (Macro to micro general bodies like Ofqual, SSC etc and then those relevant to specific areas of practice and learning and development contexts).
Regulatory bodies of standards, for example Ofqual, Sector Skills Councils, Standard Setting Bodies, Standards Verification Unit, Awarding Organisations, Institute for Learning (IFL); other regulations which affect all contexts of learning and development, for example health and safety, Equality Act 01/10/10 (please see bottom on template for those acts which come under the Equality Act), diversity safeguarding learners during assessment, recording/tracking assessment decisions, communicating assessment decisions to learners, standardisation processes internal, regional and national, verification processes internal, external linking to organisational quality assurance of assessment.
Strengths and limitations of assessment methods in relation to the needs of individual learners balancing this with the need of the qualification assessment strategy or session (non accredited) being undertaken, i.e. the range of assessment methods for performance-based assessment of skills or knowledge-based assessment of understanding, individual or group assessment, fit-for-purpose, for example learners’ needs, learning context, measurement of achievement, performance criteria, assessment criteria (AC), levels, standards, practical limitations, for example numbers involved (people), range (performance in number of situations/contexts), opportunity for assessment, reliability, time constraints, resources, staffing. Methods to cover (NB qualifications and unaccredited learning): Accreditation of prior learning, action learning sets, assignments, blended assessments, buzz groups, case
Compare the strengths and limitations of a range of assessment methods with reference to the needs of individual learners studies, scenarios, checklists, discussions/debates, eassessments, on-line assessments, demonstration, essays, exams, group work, reflective journals, observations, peers assessments, portfolios, practical tasks, presentations, products/artefacts, professional discussions, projects, puzzles, quizzes, questions (written, oral), reports, research, role plays, self assessment, simulation, tests, tutorial, video, audio, witness testimonies, worksheets and gapped handouts. Consider assessment opportunities which are naturallyoccurring. 3. Understand how to plan assessment 3.1. Summarise key factors to consider when planning assessment (Starting with context and organisational issues then focusing on learner may be a suggested way to organise delivery). (NB learning from AC 1.4.).
Addressing regulations/standards, thinking about any employer/ business needs, learner needs focusing on target dates thinking about when others may need to be involved, timing of assessment, for example initial/pre-course, formative (shorter term), summative (longer term), recognising prior learning (RPL), methods/activities, for example specific learners’ needs. Assessment plan between you and learners is a bit like a contract. Assessment plan pro forma WWWWH, who, what when where why and how. 3.2. Evaluate the benefits of using a holistic approach to assessment (Holistic to means assessing several aspects of a qualification at one time).
Efficiency in terms of cost and time, motivational aspects for learners, for example promoting learner responsibility and learner involvement, use of naturally occurring assessment opportunities/evidence, linking different aspects of learning through assessment, transference of skills, and application of knowledge, work-based opportunities, rationalising collection of assessment evidence, meeting number of learning outcomes/assessment criteria (NB sufficiency of evidence), link knowledge-based and performance-based assessment opportunities. 3.3. Explain how to plan a holistic approach to assessment Look carefully at range of assessment requirements for Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria, gage opportunities for holistic assessment, for example comprehensive approach not adhoc, logical progression and sequencing of assessments, related to specific context/learner needs/preferences/workplace, opportunities to use linkages particularly between knowledge and understanding to skills performance requirements, give consideration to naturally occurring evidence.
Organisational risks, for example organisational culture, appropriate opportunities for assessment, staff occupational/assessment experience, practical risks, for example health and safety, equality and diversity, data protection, specific occupational risks, learner risks, for example. occupational competence, responsibility, motivation, assessment risks, for example timing, range to be covered, key terms, for example sufficiency validity (AC 1.2.), bias, fairness.
Summarise the types of risks that may be involved in assessment in own area of responsibility (Starting with context and organisational issues then focusing on learner may be a suggested way to organise delivery). (NB learning from AC 1.4.).
Explain how to minimise risks through the planning process (Try to pull through key points from learning already undertaken).
Ensure clear criteria for assessment is communicated to all concerned (WWWWWH), for example identifying/addressing specific requirements, negotiating with learner, selecting appropriate range of assessment methods appropriate to context to generate the required evidence, safeguarding learners, for example planning for health and safety, equality and diversity, negotiating with learners, appropriate timing of assessment and feedback to learner clear recording/tracking/logging of assessment decisions. 4. Understand how to involve learners and others in assessment
Explain the importance of involving the learner and others in the assessment process It is important in terms of recognising learner/organisational needs, for example initial assessment, learning/training needs analysis, RPL (recognising current level of knowledge, understanding, skills and experiences), negotiating learning, mode of delivery, for example ‘bite size chunks’, meaningful, relevant, and targets/goals/ objectives for assessment, motivational factor – recognition of intrinsic/extrinsic factors, engagement with learners sharing the responsibility moving learners from a passive to an active learning state, general involvement of learners, involvement with others, for example organisation, colleagues, employers, peers, witnesses; sharing decisions/ feedback.
The assessment plan, standards/criteria against which they will be assessed, for example awarding organisation requirements, occupational standards, other specific requirements, timing, venue, methods, expected outcomes, how and when feedback will be given, benefits of assessment, appeals procedure, requirements of the learner, for example preparation, support, specific needs, evidence required; assessment decisions. 4.2. Summarise types of information that should be made available to learners and others involved in the assessment process Promotes learner involvement and understanding of some of the roles and responsibilities of the assessor (NB be aware that training may need to occur particularly around giving feedback), corrective input and consolidation of learning, peer assessment can be formal/informal, for example witness statements, peer observations, feedback, working collaboratively, sharing goals/targets, giving and receiving feedback, awareness of risks of appearing challenging or confrontational, danger of being subjective.
Explain how peer and self assessment can be used effectively to promote learner involvement and personal responsibility in the assessment of learning Promotes learners’ involvement personal autonomy, encourages and develops skills in proof reading and checking own work before submitting it to assessor/tutor, selfassessment can be formal/ informal, for example SAR (selfassessment review) initial assessment, current knowledge, understanding, skills, occupational competence, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), reflection, identifying targets/target setting, action planning.
Use of qualification special assessment arrangement policies or those of the organisation/context and or the awarding organisation negotiating assessment needs with individual learners, for example identifying specific learning/assessment needs, range of assessment methods/activities to meet different learner/context needs sequencing to support achievement, alternative assessment activities where appropriate, repetition of assessment, to use of alternative assessor, learning support, ways to supplement primary evidence, recording evidence of assessment to suit learners needs, for example digital recording – audio/visual, scribe. General issues about assessment decisions. This will help to recap on previous learning. Some kind of assessment must take place to show that learning has occurred. A record must be kept (for most qualifications awarding organisations stipulate the amount of time records must be kept for). For qualifications all assessment decisions are taken in line with
Explain how assessment arrangements can be adapted to meet the needs of individual learners (NB learning from AC 1.4.).
Explain how to judge whether evidence is:
Explain how to ensure that assessment decisions are:
their requirements, often this means deciding whether or not learners have met the required assessment criteria. It is important that you understand what you are assessing and are confident in your roles and responsibilities as an assessor. More specific to 5.1 rules of evidence, for example meeting outcomes and objectives identified in assessment plan, evidence is coherent, accessible, realistic, relevant, attributable, achieved within time constraints, credible and compatible with learning programme and required assessment outcomes, context, adhering to organisation, industry, awarding organisation and government requirements and standards.
Think about the range of evidence, for example clearly identified, current/relevant, appropriate criteria, valid standard/level, attributable, reliable and can be repeated or learning transferred, assessment decisions are fair, without bias and relate to the identified criteria, complying with organisation and/or industry, awarding organisation and government requirements, addressing specific learner needs. Designing own assessments, prepare tasks and activities that are suitable and relevant to the objectives of the session or personal learning targets of learners, using bench marks in qualification guides.
Evaluate the importance of quality assurance in the assessment process (Could either be delivered as macro to micro or visa versa).
External influences – Government requirements (mainstream funders, SFA, YP Funding Agency, LEA, Ofsted, Ofqual, Sector Skills Councils, Standards Setting Bodies etc), external quality assurance through the Awarding Organisation/Organisation/Examining Organisation compliance with their regulations and those of regulatory authorities who they are answerable to, standardisation at various levels, national, regional, internal, quality assurance of practice, consistency of the application of assessment practices, across learners/assessors/contexts/units; organisation, comprehensive approach to assessment from preparation/planning (process) to assessment outcomes, benchmarking and measures of achievement; identifying development, ensure for unaccredited programmes of learning that quality assurance practices are built in, link with the quality framework of the organisation, Continuing Professional Development needs for quality improvement.
Summarise quality assurance and standardisation procedures in own area of practice Assessment policies within own organisation/working context and procedures, noting where compliance occurs with some of the external bodies in 6.1., team/assessor standardisation (internal practices) e.g. internal observations of practice/visits to learners, standardisation meetings, sharing good practice, observation of peers/work shadowing for CPD opportunities, using feedback effectively, links to internal/external quality assurance processes as part of organisational quality cycle, use of information from reviews, evaluation procedures in terms of ensuring ongoing improvement.
Organisation policies and procedures, for example clearly written appeals/complaints procedures, accessible systems for appeals, for example documents for appeals, appropriate staffing for management of appeals, confidentiality, nondiscriminatory policy, how do these apply in practice, recording of outcomes, clear paper-trail, think about induction as being the point at which learners are given information about appeals
Summarise the procedures to follow when there are disputes concerning assessment in own area of practice I have taken the following definitions:
Explain the importance of following procedures for the management of information relating to assessment
Begin with a clear understanding of policies for management of assessment/evidence (NB that some records might be maintained centrally within an organisation through their management information systems) for example building portfolios, maintaining assessment records, observation records, physical evidence, learner and witness statements; management of assessment records, for example storage and retrieval procedures, confidentiality, data protection (internal), use of technology, sharing information with relevant parties, for example learners, other assessors, employer, colleagues, organisation, partners.
External linkages – regulations covering sharing information from outside agencies, for example Ofqual, awarding organisation bodies, SSC, data protection. Consider where feedback can occur, i.e. the assessment cycle, assessment planning processes, decision making over assessments, confirming learner achievement, motivating learners, tools in terms of giving feedback, for example praise sandwich and medals and mission, positive rewards (unaccredited learning) on-line, e-assessments, identifying further learning/assessment requirements, target setting and action planning, recording distance travelled, value-added, progression; corroboration of assessor decision-making process, judgment; identifying specific needs for support.
Explain legal issues, policies and procedures relevant to assessment, including those for confidentiality, health, safety and welfare (This AC could provide an opportunity for some recap opportunity in identifying those pieces of legislation which impact on assessment).
Start from an organisation perspective with policies and procedures (this is where legislation is made into an operational system), associated with Ofqual, Ofsted, awarding organisation/bodies requirements, SSC/national occupational standards, specific requirements, for example confidentiality; health, safety and welfare/safeguarding issues; inclusion, equality and diversity; staff development needs, for example standardisation, sharing good practice, work shadowing, peer observation, in-service training, cascading training, Continuing Professional Development identified by external influences noting those bodies already mentioned /internal.
Selection of appropriate software, staffing capabilities in using technology to full potential, storing in accordance with legal/awarding organisation/organisation requirements/accessibility of information, obtaining statistical information with speed for internal/external uses, needed. Areas where technology can be used include initial assessments, online testing, recording of evidence including audio or visual, tracking of submission of assignments electronically monitoring deadlines, completion dates, electronic feedback to learners, emailing feedback, discussion forums, web-based learning including distance or blended learning, issues of authenticity; technology for recording and storing assessment evidence, awarding organisation online provision for organisational and learner use, learners managing own electronic records, maintaining security.
Stay in the legal framework, the impact of the Equality Act (see bottom for legislation), in terms of evaluation this requires an identification of forms of inequality and discrimination and their impact on individuals and assessment, actioning what support needs are to be put in place once identified, using policies and procedures, codes of practice relevant to the promotion of equality and valuing of diversity, for example visual auditory impairment, physical disability, bilingualism; flexibility in approach to planning of assessment and quality assurance, for example negotiating timing/context, providing additional resources where appropriate, recognising additional support needs, alternative approaches/evidence. Using awarding organisation’s/examining organisation’s Access to Assessment document.
The need for reflective practice to become a habit. Use tool such as EDAR, Experience, Describe, Analyse, Revise (moving beyond description) linkages to self-assessment, SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), realistic goals/targets for own development, use feedback from learners/colleagues/managers/external evaluators, other individuals and professionals, self and team reviews, observation reports, outcome from appraisal, monitoring and modifications, updating knowledge, occupational expertise, skills and self-confidence, modifications to assessment plans, developing technologies to extend and enhance assessment process, contributing to curriculum development – all contributing to ongoing improvement framework, contributing to reliable assessment practices and robust standardisation, award of credit, qualification being safe and secure.
Legislation covered by the Equality Act • Race Relations Act 1976 • Race Relations Code of Practice 1984 • Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and 1986 • Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 • Code of Practice on the Employment of Disabled People 1990 • Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 and amended Act 1976 • Code of Practice (Disability Discrimination)1996 • Disability Discrimination Act 1995 • Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 • Equal Pay Act 1970 and Amendments 1983 and 2003 • Data Protection Act 1988 • Working Time Regulations 1998 • National Minimum Wage Act 1998 • Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 • Maternity and Parental Leave etc Regulations 1999 and 2006 • Part-Time Workers (Prevention
of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 • Fixed Term Workers (Prevention of Less favourable Treatment) Regulations 2001 • Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 • Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 • The Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2006 • Employment Equality (Age Discrimination) Regulations 2006 • Work and Families Act 2006