Assessment Methods Assessment is the means of obtaining information or can be defined as a method of evaluating learning (The starting point for this is the curriculum along with the process of learning and teaching). This helps to know when a concept is understood or not, whether you have re-teach a topic or can move on, allowing teachers, pupils, and parents to make judgments about the pupil progression. (Wilson 2009) When choosing assessment items, it is useful to focus on the immediate task of assessing student learning in that particular unit of study.
The primary goal is to choose a method, which effectively assesses the objectives of the unit. Choice of assessment methods should be aligned with the overall aims of the program, and may include the development of disciplinary skills (such as critical evaluation or problem solving) and support the development of competencies (such as particular communication or team skills. ) (Wilson 2009) When considering assessment methods, it is particularly useful to think first about what qualities or abilities you are seeking to engender in the learners.
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It is also important not to seem discriminating in any way and supportive to any learners who may have additional needs, giving the best opportunity to demonstrate their ability in respect to the course. There are wide ranges of assessment methods used to measure learning some I will touch briefly, two of these methods would be used for my subject area, which I will elaborate on. Assessment methods can be: • Formative – the purpose is to indicate the effectiveness of teaching and learning. Formative assessment and the way it is used, is crucial to effective learning and teaching.
It can identify areas of learning forgotten or misunderstood by the pupil, reveal unsuspected knowledge of skills, identify possible barriers and provide information on relevance, pace and interest of teaching for a learning group. • Diagnostic – to indicate strengths and weaknesses of the learner • Summative – for recording and reporting purposes at the end of the curriculum • Informal – on-going for teacher and pupil information • Self and peer assessment • Verbal/oral- questions are asked in efforts to establish depth of knowledge and are useful assessment tool to complement observation in order to check understanding. Observation – this is used in practical situation when a learner demonstrates their competence or natural ability while being observed by the assessor. You can also observe group work, encouraging • Simulation – this is similar to observation, but uses a simulated activity rather than a task or natural performance. While this method is not generally supported by National Vocational Qualifications it can be appropriate when using high cost materials or in dangerous situations. Project and Assignments If assessment is to be seen as a valuable tool and respected by learners it must be seen to work effectively. For my subject area I would concentrate on Formative assessment and Initial /Diagnostic assessment. Formative Assessments Formative assessment is an interim judgment also known as ‘continuous assessment’ this mean it is ongoing, this give the learner the opportunity to know how they are progressing, giving them the opportunity to improve (Wilson 2009, Gravells 2008).
This type of assessment is very motivational as it is seen as a review rather than an assessment, helping learners to progress and maximize their potential. Theorist David Kolb (1984) is used frequently to explain learning processes he describes how individuals learn from their experiences by trial and error. Reflective practice builds upon things that happen (concrete experience) and develop through understanding, like having another go at it, this Kolb suggest is a logical development, which constantly (through repetition) leads to better practice.
Formative assessment method helps the student to constructively identify achievement and areas for further improvement. The teacher is able to evaluate the effectiveness of his own teaching to date, and to centre future plans based upon that evaluation During a Formative assessment (Minton 2009). Because of the flexibility of its application formative assessment is a great way for teachers gauge how effective their teaching is as it shows up areas of strengths and weakness in time for corrections to be made sooner than later.
Formative assessment can be seen as a measure of the teacher’s ability to teach effective lessons by the results of student performance (Gould 2009, Minton 2009). Initial/Diagnostic assessment Initial assessment is a term given to that part of the learning process that aims to combine the learner, the teacher and the curriculum. Carrying out an initial assessment helps to plan appropriate sessions for learners, this is to identify the specific needs of learners and to devise the best teaching strategy. Wilson 2009, Petty2009) Initial assessment is really the first stage in a process designed to create an interesting and relevant program of study for learners, Looking at how Achievable and relevant the proposed course is the potential learner (Gould 2009). This type of assessment immediately gives credibility to the fact that assessment is very influential throughout the process of learning; it measures attainment, potential and identifies skill gaps, aspirations, support needed and the level of ability of learners.
A good initial assessment of learners’ suitability for a course can positively affect continual attendance and successful completion of a course (Minton 2005). Initial assessment sets out to do quite a lot and depending on the individuals. Individual differences will have impact upon teaching and it is important to recognize that as much as the individual is affected so also is the style and manner in which teaching is delivered, therefore expectations must be communicated in such a way as to positively influence students (Petty 2009, Gould 2009, and Minton 2005).
It is very important the learner is well informed about the course before starting so a decision can be made about the suitability of the course for the learner. Diagnostic assessment is additional information, which is linked to information gather from the initial assessment. Together they help both teacher and the learner build a clear picture of the individual, based on the skills and knowledge already achieved.
In order to begin the process of personalizing learning, developing an individual learning plan and begin the process of assessment for learning that will continue throughout the learner’s program make links to progression routes and prepare for the next steps (Gould 2009, Petty 2009). Individual differences will have impact upon teaching, so it is important to recognise that as much as an individual is affected so also is the style and manner in which teaching is delivered. Therefore expectations must be communicated in such a way as to positively influence students (Petty 2009, Gould 2009, and Minton 2005).
It is important that teaching strategies are seen to be, and treated as strategies. These are always changing and it is important to make it a point of duty to be conversant with the all strategies that may be appropriate for the individual and collective needs of students as needs as well as pupils vary. Learning is cumulative that is to say that as a result of continuous and varying experiences human beings gain knowledge, form concepts, increase in skills and attitudes and thus are able to apply understanding and grow.
During this process feelings are discovered about environmental factors and intrinsic values, learning can be viewed as a combination of cognitive, social and affective elements (Pollard 2008). The true focus of assessment is learning and how we learn. Adversely when intelligence and ability has become the focus, many authors have shown in their research that it is a nebulous concept to focus on measuring pupils’ intelligence or ability. Learning is crucial to the way in which human beings deal with different stages of life and determines whether or not good or bad experiences re-occur (Minton 2009).
Over the course of time it has been realised that knowledge, understanding and learning is crucial and should be the focus of any form of assessment. Learning is constant and takes different shapes whether academically or socially it is a part of our lives whether you realize it or not life. Everyday we learn something new, how important it is to us, only an individual will know, this is determine through assessment whether self or secondary. . Bibliography 1.
Practical Teaching A Guide to PTLLS& DTLLS: Linda Wilson 2009. 2. Reflective Teaching: Andrew Pollard 2008 3. Achieving your PTTLS Award: Mary Francis and Jim Gould 2009 4. Achieving your PTTLS Award: Mary Francis and Jim Gould 2009. 5. http://www. brookes. ac. uk/services/ocsld/resources/methods. html. 6. Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector: Ann Gravells 2008. 7. Reflective Practice in the Lifelong Learning Sector: Jodi Roffey-Barentse and Richard Malthouse 2009