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This paper was written to relate my working experience in a law-enforcement environment. I would like to study the purposes, methods and effects of assessment in the security industrial. It would be interesting for me to have an in-depth understanding on the comparison of meeting trainer's target verse achieving optimal learner's learning. Specifically, I would like to diagnose whether a learning in depth without assessment in the security industrial would be a better option as compare to meeting trainer's target by getting more recruits to pass the assessment with superficial learning.
The Singapore police Academy has over the years reviewed and changed their assessment for police trainees from on-the-job training replaced with on-the-job assessment. The recruits who passed the assessment from the police academy will have to attained additional assessment at the front line job to prove their job competency.
"As part of police training command (TRACOM) on-going curriculum review, on-the-job training (OJT) was replaced by the on-job-competency assessment (OJCA) scheme. With the shift in focus from on-the-job training to on-the-job competency assessment, probationary officers are now assessed - over a period of 17 weeks - in the areas of patrol functions, incident management, investigation, counter duties and community policing." (Singapore Police Force Annual report, 2007, p20)
How does Assessment for learning was define?
Assessment is a means of determining the effectiveness of teaching and learning. (Mehrens & Lehmann, 1991). The practice of giving formative feedback in formal Education recognizes that assessment is a key aspect of the learning process. Stobart (2008) describe assessment is for learning rather than only a measurement of learning. Traditionally assessment standard and organization or industrial objectives determine the instructional procedures and the methods used to evaluate both learner and trainer in meeting the objectives. The evaluation standard help to clarify the learning objectives and the learning experiences help determine the evaluative procedure to be used. The results of evaluation provide feedback on the effectiveness of the teaching method and the end result on the knowledge level and meeting the objectives for each student (Mehrens & Lehmann, 1991).
Assessment by Academe based (Why need?)
Mehrens & Lehmann (1991) observed that historically, assessment is regarded as an activity that is thought about only after teaching is over. The normal order of things is that the kind of changes desired of the pupils (i.e. the objectives) are determined; the method of instruction and the instructional materials necessary for realizing the objectives are identified; the strategies and development programs are developed.
In formal academic education where assessment is based on the relation to external attainment criteria. The credit is rarely given based on for how far the learner has advanced since the previous assessment or performance. While there may be written or oral feedback as part of formative assessment, the main summative assessment is a measurement, and the student must meet the supposedly transparent criteria to pass or meeting the requirement grade.
Assessment by competence-based (Why needed?)
Singapore Police Force is a having a work-based assessment system based on performance standards. Where a new officer who joined a department will partner with an experience officer who are at the same time the filed training officer. The filed training will provide a report on the work competency of the new officer. This report will provide a guides for the management to decide the career path of the new officers. The field training officer whom are at the same time a mentor may not be willing or competent to achieves particular organization outcomes for the mentee. It does have an impact on learning of the new officers and to a lesser extent teaching. The real assessment on a work competency of a officer does not ends when he was graduated from the police academe. Ipsative assessment is a way of comparing existing performance with previous performance. In this case the report from the filed training officer will be use to compare with the report from the police academe. The emphasis is to provide a continual support for the learning and professional development of the both the trainee and the trainers as well as to decide whether a qualification on confirmation of appointment. These officer's promotion are also dependent on the job performance. Many informal and practical learning experiences are assessed in the Singapore Police Force such as how quick an investigation solve a criminal case or a physical fit officer who are able to catch a on the run theft.
Wolf (1995, p. 1) identifies 3 components of Competence-based Education and Training (CBET) and defines assessment as follows:
"Competence-based assessment is a form of assessment that is derived from the specification ofa set of outcomes; that so clearly states both the outcomes - general and specific - that assessors, students and interested third parties can all make reasonably objective judgments with respect to student achievement or non achievement ofthese outcomes; and that certifies student progress on the basis of demonstrated achievement of these outcomes. Assessments are not tied to time served in formal educational settings".
It is the outcomes and not the learning processes or courses which are assessed. Outcomes have to be clearly identifiable as such in order to assure transparent and reliable assessment procedures. Outcomes are the "real side" of a competence standard and according to the CBET philosophy it is essential to conduct assessment strictly in accordance with these standards irrespective of the learning process or the circumstances involved. However, it also means an individual decides which element of competence should be assessed and the assessor then only measures the demonstrated performance in line with the relevant criteria. Every single criterion must be fully met before the assessor can judge the performance as competent. Otherwise the assessment must be repeated. Graded assessment is not encountered in competence-based assessment. Competence-based assessment is conducted on demand and under conditions which should come as close as possible to real workplaces (Wolf, 1995, pp.21).
Such task based approaches generally result in exhaustive, atomised descriptions of
behaviours or skills that can be observed. This was the experience of regulatory authorities of the United States in the 1970's who introduced certification of teachers through competency assessment (Wolf, 1995) and paradoxically caused a lowering of the standard of teaching. Wolf (1995) also argues that the National Vocational Qualifications system in the United Kingdom attempts to define competency to unattainable levels of precision and therefore is unwieldy and neglects important, abstract aspects of competence.
Assessment for accreditation (linked to industrial standards, qualifications, accountability) (Why need ?) - to expand information
Enyon & Wall (2002) talks about strong push to define standards for occupational groups. Yet, practices of fragmentation and checklist-ticking persisted long after they had been identified ( Eynon & Wall, 2002), reportedly stifling workplace innovation.
How does a learner learned ?
Entwistle's concept of deep as opposed to surface learning. different forms of learning could be distinguish between surface, strategic and deep learning.
These should provide a means of evaluating the impact of competency based assessment (CBA) in the security industrial.
Learning define as the acquisition of knowledge and understanding by the individual, not for the purposes of contributing to the greater good but purely for the purposes of improving the individual's mind. Fundamentally, learning depends on the mental processes that take place in the individual (Illeris 2007).
The principles of this conceptual framework are that an understanding of the phenomenon of learning should be sought through examining the learners' experiences and should involve the actual context and situation that people learn with, that is a 'naturalistic' setting (Entwistle, 2004).
Entwistle (2004) proposes that there are two influential factors that determine which approach is adopted by the learner. He cites early quantitative research which demonstrates evidence of a development in the nature of thinking during higher education, whereby students gradually shifted from a belief in dualism to a recognition of relativism. That is, from a belief in correct answers which are transmitted by the lecturers to be reproduced in assessments, to the recognition that conclusions are based on evidence which a learner must interpret for themselves.
Identifiable learning approaches which can be termed as either 'deep' and 'surface', as well as an approach to study that can be termed as 'strategic'. The approach adopted by the learner is significantly related to a student's intellectual development and conception of learning, along with the learning context. Furthermore the approaches correlate with the outcome of the learning (Entwistle, 2004)
The surface approach involves the intention to cope minimally with the course requirements, suggesting extrinsic interest that leads to routine memorisation and unreflective study strategies. Therefore, students may be encouraged to adopt the deep approach to facilitate a higher level of understanding. (Entwistle, 2004) However precaution must be taken not to exclude the importance of the surface approach in relation to some tasks, since the research appears imbued with the value judgment that the deep approach is in some way more desirable.
Lave and Wenger's (1991) introduce the ideas about situated learning through communities of practice but give greater attention to the relevance of structural constraints and inequalities in the workplace. Fuller and Unwin (2004) focus on the features of the environment or work situation which influence the extent to which the workplace creates opportunities for or barriers to learning. They also build on Engeström's (2001) concept of 'expansive learning' in their articulation of expansive versus restrictive work environments. However, Engeström's focus on organizational learning is differentiated from their own interest in the features of the organizational environment that are likely to influence individual learning (Fuller & Unwin, 2004).
Fuller and Unwin's (2003) discussion of an expansive-restrictive continuum in
analyzing the experience of modern apprentices highlights features related to the organizational culture and the forms of participation provided to workers. The following features are included in their description of an expansive work environment:
workers are able to participate in multiple communities of practice inside and
outside of the workplace;
there is broad access to learning in terms of tasks, knowledge and location;
workers experience a gradual transition to full participation with career progression;
workers have access to a range of qualification, and time to reflect and to learn off the job;
there is recognition of and support for apprentices' status as learners.
Fuller and Unwin's work is particularly valuable because a number of their empirical
studies have focused on apprenticeship. However, other writers add to the
conversation about what kinds of workplace practices best support the development
of personal and organizational goals. Examination of the data led to the development of an expansive-restrictive framework for characterising learning environments (Fuller and Unwin 2004). Expansive features include the opportunity for employees to: engage with multiple communities of practice; gain broad experience across the organisation; pursue knowledge-based as well as competence-based qualifications; learn off-the-job as well as on-the-job; have a recognised status as a learner; and have access to career progression and extended job roles. Restrictive features represent the flip side of these attributes. In companies that have adopted a restrictive approach, apprentices struggle to make progress in terms of achieving formal qualifications and have limited opportunities available for progression and development. An expansive learning environment develops a broad range of 'key skills', by encouraging employees to cross boundaries and experience different work-related contexts. The framework illuminates those organisational dimensions which impact on the creation of workplace learning environments.
The research challenges the assumption behind situated learning theory that all novices proceed on a linear journey from 'newcomer' to competent employee or even 'expert', with their progress dependent on the extent to which their participation is facilitated by 'experts' (Fuller and Unwin 2004). The concept of expert can mean different things in different organisational contexts. In addition, learning log data revealed that apprentices were actively engaged in helping older workers to learn by passing on skills and knowledge as they worked alongside each other: thus the 'novice' becomes the 'expert'.
An over-emphasis on the relationship between membership of a community of practice and learning in the workplace may cause a deviation from the theoretical and policy requirement. The project developed, therefore, the metaphor of 'learning territory' to encompass the range of learning opportunities to which an individual might be exposed, including off-the-job learning and qualifications, and learning at home. 'Expansive' apprenticeships draw on and take forward this disparate learning by facilitating and supporting transfer from one part of the learning territory to another.
3. Does different models of Assessment influence the teaching and learning process?
What comes through from the foregoing, is that the purpose that a test generally
will serve may force a departure from the traditional approach. Experts in
education assessment such as Bloom (1969); believe that the purpose to which the resulting test score will be put also has a significant effect. Where the decision being made at least in part, from assessment score is one with important consequences, the test is described as a "high-stakes" test. he stronger and more influential the intended use of test results, the stronger and more influential the tests become in the affected person's eyes Bloom (1969).
A learning-orientated approach has a fundament in social constructivism. The social constructive understanding of learning is a broadly based but describes a process in which an individual builds knowledge, competence, understanding, attitudes and a way of conduct (Illeris 2007).
Different views on assessment would reflect different conceptions of knowledge and roles of learners and teachers
Knowledge exists independently of learner
It can be de-contextualised
Teaching is transmitting this knowledge, learning is receiving it
Focus of teaching and assessment is to search for most effective model for transmission
Meaning created by learner/teacher
Knowledge is co-created in particular contexts
Teaching involves achieving some alignment between objectives of teachers and student perceptions and performance
Stobart ( 2008) describes the five key factors to ensure assessment is effective in promoting learning.
a) Learners are actively involved in their own learning
b) Effective feedback is provided to learners
c) Teaching is adjusted according to the results from assessment
d) Learners have opportunities to assess themselves
e) The effects of assessment on student motivation and self-esteem are recognised as both of which are crucial influences on learning.
When implemented appropriately, assessment tasks can provide an excellent opportunity for teachers and students to engage with each other and understand their mutual needs and expectations. Rather than being the final statement that ends the learning conversation between teacher and students, assessment tasks can be the basis for dialogue between teacher and students in a way that enriches understanding on both sides and enhances the possibilities for learning.
Singapore is a developed country that works toward a Meritocracy and Elitismt society, every Singaporean would need to have to have a certification to proved their value and existence. This has been a motivation factors for many working adult to pursue further education while working. Comments and grades give learners powerful messages about themselves as learners (Stobart, 2008).However there are some cases where people did badly in school but however able to progress their career along side with the elites.
In the police context, assessment is meant to measures standard of police trainees. It is to recognise job competency from both the learning and teaching which has occurred. The result was a starting platform to indicate a learner's potential for future performance. It is used as an indicator of ability and indicator of ability when facing escalating challenges in work. There it has a deciding factor of where what kind of operational duty an officer will be posted.
The perfomativity from Ball - the use of results measurement and targets against which the teacher and learner are positioned and judged.
The place of learning greatly influence by the organisational objectives and the impact of changing managerial and professional cultures on processes of teaching and learning. (Ball ,2009)
Furst (1958) correlated the relationship among instruction, objectives and evaluation.
The term "screening" is due to E. J. Furst one of the authors of The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. He argued that it is very easy to generate long lists of aims and objectives that come to be just as self-defeating as long lists of content.
Unless objectives or outcomes are strictly limited their number is likely to overload courses as their teachers struggle to obtain them and applied to the goals of an institution. Furst pointed out that "some goals will be more important than others, and some will be inconsistent in that they call for contradictory patterns of behaviour." (To elaborate this - important)
What are the cultural role of assessment for teaching and learning for law enforcement agency and the motivation for the learner?
The shift in learning dynamics and no longer learn for more knowledge and may not be use for works. The new generation are into a new trend of " the fast-food concept " need to acquired fast and only needed knowledge.
Learner - How much to pass so that I can use the certification to earn my salary ?
Teacher - How many student I could pass so that I could earn more with more head counts.
Employee - How many workers could be produce to deal with the increase in production and business ?
Adopting a Strategic approach
It seen that most organisation are adopting a strategic approach to enhance the passing rate for assessment. They can, for example, review their training medothologies and structures in order to increase passing rate of their students. They could make appropriate adjustments to existing practices and consistent with the approved curricular structure. The practical attachment "On the Job training" and scenarios based training have been a replacement for theoretical and some high risk assessment. The security agency that produce security guards would produce learning and teaching strategies and are expected to produce more security officers in a shorter duration based on external stimuli.
Two cases studies :
1 ) Unarm combat training is a requirement of the security guards. The is a stringent training and assessment which have failed many officers and many even passed have gotten themselves injured. The option was to reduce the contacts sparring and increase the individual skills displace to some fighting competency.
2) The IPPT result and how it was trained
The challenge for the organisation is to weight between the quality vs quantity . It really depend on the current challenges and organisation objective.
6 Conclusion - I will focus in looking at the underlying cultural that affect the development of teaching and learning programme for law enforcement agency
My conclusion will summaries the current assessment works well with the police teaching and learning programme. Provide recommendation and strategies that can improve the situation.
The teacher roles are to make sure the learner able to passed the assessment and not the optimal knowledge acquisition took place.
Are the learner's roles working towards strategically passing the assessment and not what was learned?
Is this type of education system wanted by the people?
My research confirms the different assessment adopted is influence by the organization and industrial demand. The objective are meeting industrial standard and produce the desire number of workers in oppose to training and learning for knowledge. This was a central issue as trainers and assessors struggled to find the boundaries of their responsibilities. They were faced with some intractable questions. Is the trainer or assessor who is solely responsible for the achievement of standards and for the assessment of those standards against fixed criteria?