The key concepts and principles of assessment
The key concepts and principles of assessment
The key concepts of assessment is that enables the assessor to clarify if the learner has gained the required understanding, skills and knowledge required as part of their program. The concept of assessment is what is included in the whole assessment process.
The key concepts of assessment include:
Accountability – as an assessor it is up to you to make sure that you are accountable to your learners and your workplace to ensure that you are carrying out your job role correctly. The learners that are assigned to you need to know why they are being assessed and also what they need to do to make sure that they pass the assessment, and it is the assessor’s role to ensure that they both understand and pass the assessment. As an assessor you will also be accountable to the Awarding Organisation for the accredited program that you provide. You would also be accountable to your employers to ensure that you deliver and provide to the best of your abilities. Achievement – As an assessor you may be required to analyse data, for your own occupational area against national and organisational targets.
Funding that the company receives may also depend on achievements. Assessment strategies – You will need to ensure that you have and follow appropriate assessment strategies to ensure that you are carrying out your job role correctly. Evaluation – the assessment process should take place often to reflect on the practice which is currently taking place and what will take place in the future. Initial, formative or summative types of assessment – These need to take place so that learners can be identified if they are suffering from dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia or dyscalculia.
The initial assessment would be carried out at the beginning of the program to identify the needs, if any, of the learner before they start on a program. Formative assessment is ongoing and the summative assessment is at the end of the program. Progression – Progression needs to be taken into account when you are assessing the learners work. They need to know what they are going to be working on next and if the achieved their work to the right standard.
The key principles of assessment is to ensure that the functions of the concepts of assessment are put into practice.
The key principles of assessment include:
Continuing professional development – This is to maintain a level of knowledge to ensure that your skills are up to date and relevant to the subject that you are assessing. Equality and diversity – It is essential that all activities that are don in connection with assessment include aspects of equality and diversity. Fairness – activities given to learners should be fit for purpose and justifiable Health and safety
Motivation – it is important for assessors to encourage and support their learners to ensure that they are at an appropriate level and achieve their maximum potential. Quality Assurance – it is an important process to ensure that all assessment decisions meet the qualification standards and that assessors are carrying out their role correctly. Record Keeping – it is Important that accurate records are kept and maintained during the whole assessment and learning process. SMART – It is important that all targets that are set are SMART targets. Standardisation – It is important that all the assessment requirements are recorded accurately and that all assessors make consist end decisions.
Question 2 (AC1.3)
Explain the responsibilities of the assessor
The responsibilities of the assessor are to carry out and agree assessments on the learners in accordance to the Awarding Organisations set criteria and requirements. In addition to this they are also responsible for supporting each individual learner on their journey through planning work, assessments, reviewing work and feeding back to them. Feeding back is important so that the learner knows exactly what they have achieved and what is, furthermore, required from them. They are also required to review learner progress, alongside employers, this is in addition to planning and feedback.
In addition to supporting the learner on their individual journey they are also required to attend meetings, maintain records of achievements made, and maintain their own occupational competence, which could be through CPD for each area or their role eg. Assessor, tutor, they would be expected to provide information to managers, offer additional support to learners where it is required and standardise practice alongside other assessors. It is also the role of the assessor to ensure that the candidate understand what the appeals procedure is and who they need to speak to if they disagree with the assessors grading of their work.
Question 3 (AC 1.4)
Identify the regulations and requirements relevant to assessment in your own area of practice
The regulations that are relevant to assessment within the business administration are set out depending on the Awarding Organisations, in our case this is NCFE. Regulations for assessment may also depend on what type of environment you are assessing in. In some of the environments that I currently assess in you have to wear PPE, which is provided for you by each individual company.
A requirement to assessment within the business administration is that the assessor has the relevant occupation competency and/or qualifications which allows them the understanding of not only and administration environment but also the understanding of the competency requirements set out for the qualification.
A requirement within my workplace for assessors is that they all have occupational experience and qualifications in the area which they are delivering, that all assessing and teaching staff are either working towards or hold a teaching qualification and that all assessing staff are working towards or hold an assessing qualification or internal verifiers qualification
Question 4(AC 2.1)
Compare the strengths and limitations of a range of assessment methods with reference to the needs of individual learners
There is a variety of different methods that can be used within a business administration area. These different methods can be made so that they can be individual for each learners needs:
Strengths – Observing learners allows the learners to demonstrate the skills that they have learnt and developed in their workplace, and also allows the assessor to holistically gather evidence for a variety of different unit criteria.
Limitations – Observations are time consuming and occasionally an observation can only be linked to limited criteria.
Strengths – Learners brining work evidence in allows then to demonstrate and explain what process they undertook to produce that piece of evidence.
Limitations – Pieces of evidence might not have been produced by the learner, it might have been produced by another colleague and then given to the learner. To ensure that this is not the case I ensure that any of the work that learner claim to be their own is what I have observed them create during a planned observation.
Strengths – Learners may be able to put across their answer easier than having to type it, they might be able to get across more detail and make clear links to their work place.
Limitations – Learners might not be confident or understand the question when asked.
Strengths – 1st hand evidence which can be given as work is being completed
Limitations – might not contain relevant links to knowledge criteria and the person writing the testimony might not understand what is needed from them.
Written Evidence (Question & Answer)
Strengths – Learners can explain in detail clear links to their workplace and the knowledge criteria
Limitations – Learners may be dyslexic or struggle to write detailed answers, when oral questioning could be easier.
Question 5 (AC 3.1)
Summarise key factors to consider when planning assessment
The key factors that an assessor needs to consider when planning an assessment are; criteria to be covered, timescales & timings, place of assessment and feeding back to the learner.
Criteria / Knowledge Outcome:- The assessor needs to ensure that they are fully conversant with the standards so that when they are sat planning with the learner they can confidently explain to the learner what is required of them and be able to answer any questions that the learner may have. It is also necessary for the learner to know and understand the knowledge outcomes and the criteria so that when the assessor is planning work with them the learner can feel confident and satisfied in what they are required to do.
Timescales & timings:- It is important to set timescales for learners when planning because without them learners will have no deadlines to work to and potentially leave work until the final months of the apprenticeship. It is also important to set timings for assessments to take place so that the learners are ready and prepared for it. This needs to be discussed with the learner so that they can say when they will be ready and also for how long the assessment will take place for.
If learners fail to meet a target it is the responsibility of the assessor to discuss with the learner the reasons why they haven’t met it. It could be that the learner hasn’t fully understood what is required of them, the assessor would then need to ensure that they explain what is required clearly. It could be that the deadline that was set wasn’t realistic and the learner wouldn’t be able to meet it or it could be that the learner has been ill or on holiday.
Place of assessment:- The assessor needs to ensure that they plan with the learner and also the employer or work place, when the assessment is going to take place and where it is going to take place. This is so that the assessor will be able to plan in case there are any risks involved. It also needs to be planned so that, if for example, the learner needs to be assessed meeting visitors, but their primary role is working in a back office. Arrangements would need to be made to ensure that the learner was covering the reception at the time of the assessment. This would also come into timing.
Feedback:- Feedback is a key factor when planning an assessment as this allows the learner to know if they have completed the assessment that they have been undertaking, or if there are any further actions that they needed to complete before it is completed. Feedback is given to the learner as soon as it is possible to do so. This can lead to good motivation and a confidence boost.
Recording of assessment decisions: The keeping of a record of assessment decisions is important as it is an awarding organisation requirement, for quality assurance, a contractual requirement and regulatory bodies audit requirement. It is also important as learners can then reflect on the assessment decisions that they have received and use it to improve their work within a different unit that they have to complete.
Choice of assessment: Assessment choice is a big key factor when planning an assessment. Depending on the Knowledge outcomes and the criteria of a unit will depend on the type of assessment used. In the qualification that I deliver the main types of assessment that I use with my learners are:
Assessor Led Assessment – This means that I plan with the learner the assessment and the carry out the assessment, which may be in the form of an observation of them in their workplace.
Evidence Assessment – The learners may produce their own evidence and successfully map it to the knowledge outcomes and the criteria.
Holistic Assessment – Were the learner may be observed but the observation ay meet multiple criteria across various units.
Indirect Assessment – which may be a witness testimony off an employer.
Vocational Assessment – this is a job related practical assessment which is normally in the learners working environment.
Importance of complying with Awarding Organisation Assessment Strategy:– this is an important factor as if you fail to comply with the Awarding Organisations Assessment Strategy’s they can withdraw your centre accreditation to deliver that award.
Question 6 (AC 3.4)
Summarise the types of risks that may be involved in assessment in your own area of responsibility
The types of risks that may be involved in assessment within a business administration area are that the learner might feel stressed or under pressure if they are busy in their workplace. If the learner is feeling under pressure to complete their own work and the work that the assessor has given them, it might not be to the high standard that they are normally capable of. They might also feel under pressure as they may feel like they are not yet ready to be assessed or observed completing a set task.
Assessors may also feel pressure to get learners through qualifications quicker, therefor not covering the assessment criteria to the depth that it is needed.
Health and safety risks may prevent assessors not being allowed access to the area that the learners are working in, for example a learner who works in a factory environment who has to wear appropriate PPE and the assessor not having the PPE needed to gain access.
Another risk could be that the assessment strategy has been failed to be met. This could then result in the learners failing to meet the required standards that are needed to achieve the qualification, which could then result in in the loss of accreditation from the Awarding Organisations’ and in turn the loss of the contract from the main contract holders.
Inauthentic evidence would be a risk as the learner would not only be subject to plagiarism but might also fail to meet deadlines set because they cannot reproduce the evidence that they originally attempted to pass off as their own.
It is important when assessing both level 2 and level 3 candidates that you don’t over assess the Level 2 candidates work and assess like it’s a level 3 candidate. As long as the candidate covers the criteria that is needed it is sufficient and not to get the candidate to over answer the work. Likewise with the level 3 work, you have to bear in mind that they are working to a certain level and assess all work the same and according to the level they are working to.
Question 7 (AC 3.5)
Explain how to minimise risks through the planning process
When planning with the learner, the assessor needs to ensure that each learner is treated as an individual and bear in mind that each learner may work at a different pace. The assessor needs to make sure that they are setting SMART targets that the learner agrees on.
Steps should be taken by the assessor to discuss the learner’s workload and know if the learner’s role has increased or if they are covering for holidays within the workplace. By doing this the learner and assessor will be able to make arrangements so that assessments only take place when the learner is ready and able to do so, so they don’t feel under pressure to achieve.
The assessment that is taking place needs to be fair and reliable. Any activity that is set for the learner needs to be relevant to the qualification that they are taking. It needs to be reliable and if carried out with a different learner kept the same so that similar results are gained.
It is important that an assessor doesn’t plan unrealistic and unachievable targets for the learners. If the task that has been planned is unrealistic and unachievable the learners will become despondent and might even end up leaving their training course. Therefore, it is important that when an assessment is planed that the learner is ready for it and knows exactly what is required of them and what criteria and knowledge outcomes they are going to meet.
Question 8 (AC 4.2)
Summarise the types of information that should be made available to learners and others involved in the assessment process Scheme of work:- A scheme of work is important as it allows others to see what the learner has covered, what they need to cover and what they are currently working on. Criteria:- Criteria should be made available to the learners and others involved in the assessment process because without it there would be nothing to work towards. The criteria is an important part of the assessment process because it allows the learner to show that they have a good level of understanding and can demonstrate their competence when assessed against it. What needs to be assessed in the workplace:- It is important that not only the learner but employers know and understand what needs to be assessed in the workplace. This is so that the assessor, learner and employer can ensure that units are chosen that are achievable and not one that covers criteria that the learner may never be able to complete due to their job role.
Time scales:- Time scales are important as it not only allows the learners to know how long they have to complete either a unit of the full qualification, but also the employer as they may need time to decide whether they are wanting to continue the apprentices contract or not. How feedback is given:- Feedback is given individually to the learner. During the feedback it is discussed the work that has been submitted and weather it met the criteria or if it failed to meet the criteria. If the work failed to meet the criteria then the learner needs to know and understand what they need to do to make sure that they can meet it.
If the learner has completed the assessment, the feedback needs to reflect this and then continue on to plan their next assessment. How Assessments are planned:- assessments are planned individually with learners. It is discussed what the learner needs to do to achieve the outcomes of the unit and each individual criteria is discussed with the learner. It is then decided what type of assessment will be used to meet the outcomes of the unit. This is all then documented on an assessment plan, which is kept in the unit until the unit is completed. All feedback is then logged on the assessment plan.
Question 9 (AC 4.3)
Explain how peer and self-assessment can be used effectively to promote learner involvement and personal responsibility in the assessment of learning
Peer assessment can be used effectively to promote learner involvement and personal responsibility in the assessment of learning because if the assessor gets the learners to feedback to their peers after completing an activity it will then improve confidence and it will also allow the learners to interact more with each other, without assessor contribution. This may also be effective as some learners may be able to take feedback more successfully off their peers than off an assessor. It also allows learners to share their ideas with each other and discuss what they believe is the correct way to complete a set task.
Self-assessment can be used effectively to promote learner involvement and personal responsibility in the assessment of learning because it allows learners the autonomy of deciding how to best meet a target. It also then encourages them to check and reflect on their work before it is handed in for assessment.
Question 10 (AC 4.4)
Explain how assessment arrangements can be adapted to meet the needs of individual learners
Assessment arrangements can be adapted to meet the needs of individual learners at any time whilst they are on a program. Learners’ circumstances can change remarkably quickly and each person is different.
The Awarding Organisation has its own policy for special requirement. If a centre has a learner who needs additional support or has additional requirements then a form has to be completed and sent off.
The learner may have an illness that requires their training to be suspended for a short time, until they are fit to return to work and training. The assessor can discuss this with the individual so that they can put a plan in place so that the learner will know that the support is there for them.
Some learners may suffer with a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, they might need additional support or might need to answer knowledge outcomes verbally.
Learners may be shift workers, so the assessor would need to make arrangements so that they can visit the learner whilst they are working, without causing disruption to their working pattern.
The above all affects the assessment process as they are all barriers to the learners progress on their chosen qualification because they can all prevent the learner from achievement. If one of my learners had a barrier I would adapt their assessment to meet their individual needs. For example I have learners currently working in a factory environment which is difficult for them to move away from their workplace to speak and plan with myself. I arrange with the learner for them to either go into work earlier and meet me or stay after their shift. By doing this we have overcome the barrier and the learner is still getting the amount of support that the need, just like all the other learners.
Question 11 (AC7.1)
Explain the importance of following procedures for the management of information relating to assessment The importance of following procedures for the management of information relating to assessment is that that the facility complies with the government’s legislation and also with the Data Protection Act. This then ensures that there will be no plagiarism and that also that the learners can feel confident that their work and personal information is kept secure. Computer systems that are used to manage the information have password systems and any work relating to the assessment of learners, when in hard copy, is kept in a locked, fire proof cupboard.
It is important that standardisation meetings take place so that good practice can be shared with other assessors, verifiers and when appropriate external moderators. This is then logged and recorded in the subject file, along with any internal verifiers reports. Records of learners achievements are recorded on their assessment plans, which are kept in both their site files and also their NVQ files. This data is also kept on a tracking sheet, which forms part of a contractual obligation for the contract holder. This information on the tracking sheet has to be kept up to date continually so that it can be easily seen where a learner is at, at any point in their course.
Question 12 (AC 7.2)
Explain how feedback and questioning contributes to the assessment process
Feedback and questioning contributes to the assessment process because feeding back to the learners allows them to understand what they have achieved and questioning ensures that they have understood what they have done and what they need to do.
Learners receive feedback after each pieces of work that they produce and submit for assessment. This feedback is important for the learners as it gives them an understanding of what they are doing on their course and how they are progressing and show that they have a record so that they know how they are progressing and what they have completed. Feedback is given to learners as a 1:1 so that they can fully understand what they have done and achieved.
The feedback process needs to be transparent. As an assessor it is your responsibility to ensure that all parties involved in the process clearly understand what is expected of them. This also includes the assessors interpretation and understanding of the knowledge outcomes and criteria as well as the learners. The assessor will also have to speak to the learners supervisors, colleagues or mentor to inform them of the progress that their learner is making.
Question 13 (AC 8.1)
Explain legal issues, policies and procedures relevant to assessment, including those for confidentiality, health, safety and welfare
So that the training centre can meet both the internal and external standards required it is important that policies and procedures that are relevant to assessment, incorporating any legal issues that may need to be addressed. These will then allow the assessment procedure to run smoothly and in turn it builds up the learner’s confidence in the training and assessing that they are receiving, and also the Awarding Organisations confidence that the assessment process is being covered correctly.
It is also a legal requirement by OFSTED, who inspect training organisations, that policies and procedures are in place. Without these policies and procedures the centre would be at risk of breeching a legal contract with the funding authorities and the contract could be withdrawn, which would then result in the training centre being closed down. These records include:
Equality and Diversity policy – this is so that no discrimination is taking place and that equality and diversity is touched on in every taught session and is also a big part within the assessment process, as some of the criteria ask the learners how they would deal with a variety of different people with different circumstances. Attendance Registers – These are important as it can be proved what learner attended on what day, but also as a health and safety feature in case of a fire or accident.
Assessment form – to show that planning, reviewing and feedback has been given to each individual learner on their chosen course. Individual Learning Plans – These will show the targets and timescales set to each individual. Course feedback forms – so that as assessors and teachers we will know how the learner felt each course went, and if needed, make adjustments to it. Emotional Welfare of the Learner – so that learners don’t feel under any unnecessary pressure to get work completed.
Another important legal policy that would need to be the Data Protection Act. This would be important as learners need to feel confident that the information that they provide isn’t going to be passed around or even discussed with other training providers or even other staff. It would also fall in with the centres Safeguarding Policy.
There is also a candidate appeals procedure which every learner has a copy of and has signed to say that they understand the procedures. Learners are informed that if they feel that their assessor has made the incorrect decision on their work they can then appeal within 14 days in writing to have it re assessed by the centre co-ordinator and so on down the tree until they reach the external assessor.
Question 14 (AC 8.3)
Evaluate requirements for equality and diversity and where appropriate bilingualism in relation to assessment Equality and diversity in relation to assessment is essential in any learners journey. All sessions delivered to learners should be delivered regardless of your own beliefs, values and own attitude, as everyone does have different impressions of everything. By doing this you can then conduct a teaching environment where everyone present feels valued and respected as an individual. You also need to make sure that when learners are butting across their own points of view, others don’t become biased. It is also important to make sure that any assessments that take place cater for the diversity of a group. Occasionally I will take a group that is mixed with both level 2 and level 3 learners. When issuing assessments I need to be mindful that I don’t offend some learners who think that they should be on a higher level that they are.
By ensuring that all learners needs are met and not discriminating against due to any difficulties means that all learns will feel that they are being treated equal and fairly. Difficulties that could arise could be:- Dyslexia – by allowing learners additional time and additional support, subtly, will mean that they will still achieve and not feel like that have been “let down” and unsupported. Learners can also be supported by presenting any written questions in simpler formats for them to understand, asking verbal questions to which they can give detailed answers and allowing learners to use laptops instead of handwriting any answers they need to give. ESOL – Learners who speak English as a second language will need to be supported on their learning journey so that they can active timely, just the same as other learners. This can be done by working with the learner as an individual and if required seeking assistance in translation work for the individual.
Visual / Hearing Impairment – Learners who have a visual or hearing impairment need to be subtly encourage to sit closer to the front of the classroom during sessions that require group participation. Disability – Learners who have a disability may find it difficult to work in environments that more able bodied learners thrive in. These learners could be assessed in more comfortable surroundings and ensure that appropriate access and support systems are in place for them. Cultural or religious requirement – Some learners may need to pray at certain times or have certain dietary requirements. It is important that these needs are met so that the learners are made to feel equal. It is important that the assessment strategy is adaptable to incorporate each individuals needs. By doing this you then are able to give the learners a quality service which is delivered to the standards of the Awarding Organisation. Question 15 (AC 8.4)
Explain the value of reflective practice and continuing professional development (CPD) in the assessment process Reflective practice is very important as an Assessor as it allows you to continually improve the program that you are delivering, making it the best that it can be. Reflecting on the program is important to evaluate the effectiveness of it and ensuring that learning has taken place at the correct level and also to ensure that it meets the needs of the learners. It will help to identify any problems or issues that may occur. As well as reflecting on the whole program it is also a valuable exercise to evaluate on single session. I find that by doing this on new sessions that I deliver it assists me in improving the session for the next group. I also reflect if I have had a good session on an older session that I have delivered successfully at a previous time. This could be because of the way that the group has participate and the way that I encouraged them to participate.
Continuing professional development is valuable as it allows me to grow as a professional. It will assist in identifying my own strengths and weaknesses within the assessment process. It also means that I can continually update my own knowledge and skills on the area that I am delivering in and also the government legislations. CPD can take the form of evaluating after a teaching observation which will highlight strengths and weaknesses with that individual session. As part of my own CPD I have been working alongside two experienced assessors and observing the way in which they assess work, plan work and give feedback on work. I have found this very useful and I have been able to use these experiences within my own assessing.
It is a centre requirement and also an Awarding Organisation requirement that staff are kept up to date with CPD so that they are current with any changes in their own area of delivery. By keeping CPD currently it can have a positive effect on learners, as you are able to make sure that the information that you are passing on to your learners and teaching them is current. It wouldn’t be very professional if, as an assessor/teacher you gave a lesson and the information that you delivered to the learners was out of date. This would then mean that the learner would not meet the knowledge outcomes or criteria due to old information.
My own CPD also take form in an appraisal. During this appraisal my line manager and my self discuss my own development and any training courses that I feel relevant to my own area which will keep my skills and abilities current. I also attend standardisation meetings, in which it is discussed parts of each unit criteria so that that assess know that they are all assessing to the same standard. If standards of the qualification change then the Awarding Body issues newsletters and emails explaining the changes. There are also workshops that are available that can be attended by staff that will be delivering the qualification. These are normally free to attend and are at a variety of different sites across the country.