UNDERSTANDING THE PRACTICES AND REQUIREMENTS OR ASSESSMENT
1.1 Explain the function of assessment in learning and development.
Assessment is a method or checking to see if learning has taken place. Its function is to provide a way of measuring the progress of each student. It provides the student with an opportunity to show the progress they have made, skills they have learned and what they need to work towards to meet a set criteria.
Students taking a qualification will need formal methods of assessment for example, assignments or observations within the workplace. Informal methods such as a questions and answers session can be used to check a learners’ progress at any time.
Initial assessments are carried out before the learner embarks on any training programme. This gives the assessor the opportunity to build a picture of the learners needs and requirements, if they have any prior experience and knowledge. This can also include an interview for the qualification the learner wishes to take. It is important to establish the needs and requirements so that the programme may be adapted for learning styles or disabilities. It will help to identify any gaps in their own learning that need addressing and better enable the assessor to support the learner.
Formative assessments monitor the learners’ progress. This is ongoing throughout the qualification period. Types of formal assessment can include assignments, witness statements, essays, case studies and discussions. It helps the learner to identify their strengths and weaknesses and assists trainers, managers and employers to recognise where students are struggling and implement steps to improve conditions for the learner to continue learning.
Summative assessment is carried out at the end of the course or unit. It is the final judgement as to the learners’ overall performance and achievement set against the criteria for the qualification. The assessor must refer to and follow the requirements set by the Awarding Body of that programme.
Assessment is of the learner and is specific to the learners’ achievements and how they can improve and meet targets.
Evaluation is of the programme being taken. It is a quality assurance monitoring tool. It includes feedback from all involved with training to help improve the overall learning experience.
1.2 Define the key concepts and principles of assessment.
Key concepts of assessment are the ideas. Principles are how the ideas are put into practice.
As an assessor you must be accountable to your learners and you’re your business or organisation. You are responsible for ensuring that your role as an assessor is being carried out effectively and correctly. Each learner must know why they are being assessed and what the assessment criteria involves so they have a full understanding of their undertakings. Learners should not be assessed until they are ready as this may have a detrimental effect on their ability to achieve and progress. As an assessor you are also accountable to the Awarding Organisation when you assess their accredited qualifications. You can also be accountable to employers when assessing their staff within the workplace.
Keeping accurate records for each learner is a useful way of evaluating achievements. It will show how many learners started the programme, how many successfully completed and achieved and in what timescale. It will also show those that took longer to complete of perhaps those that were unable to finish. This will give valuable information for future planning and organisation. Some organisations use achievement data to secure further funding.
Following a plan of action or an assessment strategy for your subject ensures you are correctly carrying out your task/role and are working towards or helping a learner work towards the required target.
Benchmarking is a point of reference that things may be compared against. Benchmarking compares the accepted standard against the current position of a learners’ performance. It can help towards target setting. If a learner doesn’t achieve the required benchmark, then an evaluation of their training and targets set need to be reassessed and improvements and or additional support will need to be implemented.
Evaluation of the assessment process is a way of judging the current and future practice. Each aspect of the assessment cycle, from the initial assessment, the planning, the activity, assessment decision and feedback, to the review of progress should be evaluated regularly and feedback obtained from all those involved to continue to deliver the programme correctly and effectively.
Assessments, such as assignments, projects and questions are referred to as internally devised assessment methods. These methods are marked internally and are informal. Each method used should be appropriate, relevant and at the correct level for each learner. Informed assessments monitor ongoing progression and development.
Examinations are externally devised assessments. These are produced by the Awarding Organisation and are a formal assessment method. Formal assessments count towards the achievement of a qualification.
The process of developing or moving towards a more advanced state is to progress. If your learner starts a programme is there the opportunity of progression to a higher level if required. Progression opportunities need to be discussed with the learner to ensure they are on the correct path and can achieve the required result.
Transparency is very important so that everyone involved in the assessment process has a clear understanding of what is expected of them and that nothing untoward takes place. You must be honest with your learners. For example, allowing them to think they have achieved more than they have could have a detrimental effect on their ability to perform and their confidence to continue. Keep up to date records and maintain them throughout the assessment process to remain transparent. They will help with feedback and progression.