Types of Assessment
Initial assessment should take place prior to, or when learning begins as it will determine a learner’s previous skills and knowledge. It should also give you information regarding any specific learning and assessment requirements or needs they might have, or any additional training and support they may require. This process will also ensure learners are on the right course. Formative assessment should take place constantly throughout your learners’ time with you. It is usually carried out informally to review progress, recognise any support requirements and inform further development. Asking questions and observing actions can help you to assess how your learners are progressing.
You could use activities, quizzes and short tasks for learners to carry out which may make the assessment process more interesting and highlight any needs further development. Summative assessment usually occurs at the end of the session, programme or topic. It is a measure of achievement towards set criteria. This type of assessment can be quite stressful to some learners and may lead to a fail result even though the learner is quite capable under other conditions. Summative assessment is usually formal, devised by the awarding organisation that accredits the qualification and is often called assessment of learning. Involving Learners and Others in Assessment
It could be that you are not the only person involved with your learner’s progress; there could be others such as their supervisor at work, or different trainers or assessors. It is important that you communicate with all concerned to make sure that the learning and assessment process is effective. You can also involve the learner in their own assessment of progress and the assessment of their peers as required. Learners should always be involved in the assessment process from beginning to end. Involving your learners gives them the opportunity to inform you of anything which might affect their progress and / or achievement. It also helps them to take ownership of their development if they are aware of what will be assessed. At some point you may need to liaise with other people who are involved in the assessment process of your learners, to inform others of any particular learner requirements to ensure consistency of support. Some of the people you may need to liaise with could be: trainers
Peer and Self-Assessment
Both of the following methods encourage learners to make decisions about what has been learnt, take responsibility for their learning, get involved with the assessment process and give feedback. Self-assessment – involves a learner assessing their own progress which can lead to them setting their own goals. It can give responsibility and ownership of their progress and achievements. However, learners might feel they have achieved more than they actually have: therefore you will still need to confirm their achievements or otherwise. Peer assessment requires a learner to assess the progress of another learner. Peer assessment can be useful to develop and encourage learners. This must be managed carefully, as you may have some learners who do not get along and might use the opportunity to dishearten one another.
How Constructive Feedback Contributes to Assessment
Giving feedback in a constructive way allows learners to recognise the progress they have made, which requirements they have attained and any further action that may be necessary. This contributes to the assessment process by ensuring that everyone is aware of what has been achieved and what may still need to be met. It creates opportunities for clarification and discussion, and emphasises progress rather than failure. It helps improve confidence and enthusiasm and identifies further learning opportunities. How to Give Constructive Feedback
Feedback is a way of helping reassure, increase confidence, encourage and motivate learners. All learners need to know how they are progressing and what they have achieved, giving feedback will help them to realise this. Feedback can be given formally in writing or informally by verbal communication. It should be given at a level which is appropriate for each learner, be specific and include facts which relate to development and achievement in order to help learners progress. Descriptive feedback lets you describe what your learner has done, how they have met the requirements and what they can do to progress further and allows you to provide opportunities for the learner to make any alterations or improvements to reach a specific standard.
Most people need encouragement and need to be told when they are doing something well and why. When giving feedback it can help the learner to hear what they have done well, followed by what they must improve and then end on a positive note to keep them motivated. This is known as the praise sandwich. When delivering constructive feedback some useful points to note are: Use your learners name as this makes the feedback more personal. Information should be clear about how to improve as a learner Feedback should be recorded in a written format so that there is a clear audit trail Check the learner understands the feedback
Use a level of language and style appropriate to the learner State what you want the learner to do in order to make future improvements.
Records of assessment must be retained to show an audit trail of learners’ progress. If a learner were to lose their work, if there were no records of assessment there would be nothing to show what was assessed and what was completed. Records are usually kept within the organisation for three years in case they are needed at any point. Records must be up to date, accurate, factual and legible however they are stored. You must always maintain confidentiality and follow relevant legislation such as the Data Protection Act (1998) which is mandatory for all organisations that hold and process personal data. Keeping full and accurate factual records is also necessary in case a learner was to appeal against an assessment.