Leicester College Is One Of The Largest Education Essay

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Leicester College is one of the largest in the UK with more than 26,900 learners, from many backgrounds with different ambitions and aspirations, studying on a wide range of courses (including about 3,500 ESOL learners) and 1,500 members of staff. It is the only general Further Education College in Leicester and offers hundreds of courses from entry level to university level and provides training for thousands of local and national companies. It operates on three main campuses in the City of Leicester and provides education and training at around 80 community centres. The nature of its role and position presents the college as the major education and training provider in the local community. It is the largest provider of ESOL within the East Midlands region.

The College is known nationally and locally for excellence and its mission is to deliver a wide range of high quality teaching, learning and to get the best results. The College holds reporting, planning and review meetings which discuss the progress and achievement rates and therefore focus on quality improvement in order to meet the needs of individuals and of employers and to address the government's priorities.

There are many different methods of assessment used at Leicester College. Each assessment is designed to gather Information and interpret to determine the learning goals of an academic program and produce the evidence to show the progress, exam results and success rates.

Initial assessment identifies the level of the learner's current skills and levels and provides the information needed to place the learner in an appropriate learning programme. The results of this assessment are recorded in ILPs for the tutors of the allocated programme. The teacher administers and carries out Diagnostic assessment at the beginning of a learning programme to identify a learner's strengths and weaknesses in specific areas. It provides a detailed assessment of a learner's skills and abilities and the results are recorded in the learner's individual learning plan (ILP) to agree on learning goals for a set timescale. Quality Assurance team reviews these targets twice a year, and if the results show that the targets haven't been met, the quality assurance team contact the course teacher. QA team might set an action to be undertaken by the teacher by a certain date or suggest some training sessions for improvement.

Summative assessment assesses the learners' progress and achievements against their learning goals which can be done by taking an external accreditation or internal completion of individual learning plan and the results of achievement are recorded on the ILPs. These records are used to guide and direct the learners towards suitable progression routes. The College also launched its own internally developed integrated data dashboard which allows staff across the College to access a range of reports on learner achievements and success rates. It enables teachers to keep a track of learners' progression, attendance etc.

The Quality Assurance Team carries out regular quality checks to monitor and review this data. However, if the records on the ILP show any issues of concern, the quality check team sets out actions to be taken by the teacher and the management. The senior leadership inputs this data into SAR Report which is then sent to the Effectiveness Panels for monitoring and quality improvement. The college carries out developmental and themed observations, arrange staff development training sessions and peer observations to train and update the knowledge and skills of the teachers in order to monitor and manage success rates because success rates significantly affect the reputation of the college at local, national and international level. Those areas with lower success rates are required to produce individual improvement plans and the focus for cross-College staff development arising from the observation reports remains on supporting staff by providing a wide range of training and development activities. Summative assessment results significantly affect the college's ability to meet funding targets because the college's financial health rating largely depends on good performance against targets and efficiency. The pass rate target is 85% for all curriculum areas, but if this target isn't met, an internal check is carried out for that curriculum area with some action plans. Low pass rate results in reduced funding which affects the reputation of the college, management, courses and staffing.

During external inspection, the inspection team looks at the SAR Report of each Curriculum area. The Ofsted inspectors (2011) highlighted particular strengths which included very high success rates, learners making good progress and very effective assessment and feedback.

Task 2

Design and include a diagnostic or formative or summative assessment in your subject specialism, using new and emerging technologies where appropriate

(Equivalent 200 words)

Looking for work

This activity is about finding and applying for a job.

Phoning for information

You want to apply for a job.

You see some advertisements in a newspaper.

You choose a job.

You want some information about the job.

Phone the company.

Your teacher will be the receptionist.

State which job you would like to apply for.

Ask five things about the job.

Speak clearly.

Ask for clarification.

You can make some notes if you want to.

....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Cut-up Job cards

Chef

Cleaner

Sales assistant

Warehouse operative

Packing

Fork lift driver

Delivery driver

Nursery assistant

Assessment record

Task 1: Phoning for information

Student name:_______________________ Date: ____________________

Tutor name: ________________________

Curriculum reference

marking criteria

marks

Sc/E1.4a

Learner states which job s/he would like to apply for.

1

Sc/E1.2a

Sc/E1.3b

Sd/E1.1a

Lr/E1.5b&d

Learner asks 5 things about the job.

Learner asks at least 3 things about the job.

2

1

Lr/E1.1a-d

Learner asks for clarification

1

Sc/E1.3b

Sc/E1.4a

Questions are grammatically correct.

Some questions are grammatically correct.

2

1

Learner uses appropriate vocabulary and expressions.

Learner uses limited vocabulary and expressions.

2

1

Learner pronounces most words correctly.

Learner pronounces some words correctly.

2

1

Total marks

6 out of 10 (PASS)

comments:

Tutor's signature:_____________________________________________

Student's signature:___________________________________________________

Date:_______________________________________________________

Write a justification of this assessment task which is a critical discussion of:

The purpose of the assessment and why you chose this method of assessment

(200 words)

Most students in this class are on job seekers allowance and are therefore looking for jobs but the countries they have come from have very different employment processes. During initial assessment, they expressed their need and interest in learning English particularly for improving their employment skills because they are under pressure to find a job financially. This formative assessment is designed to assess learners' knowledge of different types of jobs in the UK and the job application process in the UK. Job hunting can make them very nervous, therefore the topic of job search brings them into a real situation and gives them practice of asking for information things. Students also need to practice asking for information using 'wh' questions words to prepare towards their speaking and listening exams.

The aim of this task is to elicit information and respond appropriately. In particular, learners should be able to ask questions in order to elicit information from other learners and respond appropriately to maintain the interaction. This assessment provides the learners with the opportunity to demonstrate command of the relevant language of this level. Tasks include real authentic language situations to evaluate three skill areas: speaking, listening and reading. The task is based on skills that appeal to learners for example finding jobs.

The extent to which you feel the assessment task is reliable, valid and fair. You should make reference to your reading on this subject

(200 words)

There are many reasons for assessing students' learning. Students need feedback to help them to improve and we, as teachers, need feedback on how well students' learning is going, so that we can adjust and develop our teaching. This formative assessment task can be useful to diagnose areas of improvement, and enable students to know where they are struggling, and therefore help them to rectify mistakes and put things right. Assessment methods used are designed to maximise student motivation, and prompt their efforts towards achieving their learning goals because one of their reasons for learning English is to improve employability skills. Using a range of different assessment methods encourages students to develop different skills which can promote more effective and enjoyable assessment of learning. It is fair in that everyone has equal chance i.e. it ensures that all students can demonstrate their strengths in those assessment contexts they find most comfortable and appropriate for them.

The method and the criteria effectively evaluate students' achievement against the learning goals at their appropriate level and follows same marking criteria. (James Atherton, 10 February 2010) Reliable assessment is based on clear and consistent marking system. Written instructions are very simple and clear and they can be verbally explained to learners with low level of literacy skills. The task and procedures do not disadvantage any learner and they provide students with the opportunity to develop a range of skills and capabilities such as speaking, listening, reading and using new technologies for recording. The task is manageable by learners as well as the teacher in terms of the amount of work. Assessment tasks and the feedback will help the students to find out what they need to work on in order to achieve their goals which will promote learning and facilitate improvement.

Reliability and validity of the assessment are closely joined because they determine the quality of the assessment process. (James Atherton, 10 February 2010) A valid form of assessment is one which measures what it is supposed to measure and therefore, covers as much of the assessable material as practicable. I designed the task with careful consideration and made every effort to ensure that assessment is valid and reliable so that the assessment content covers and measures what it is supposed to. The task is adequate and accurate as that it assesses and collects information about the learner's specific current skills and knowledge. Phoning for information about a job gives the teacher information about the learner's ability to reflect these skills in real life situations. Every learner will benefit from doing role-play. It does not grade learners on accuracy but is aimed at fluency. This task constructively made a very positive effect on learning and motivation. Some of my colleagues actually used this assessment task with their learners and found them very practical and adequate. I received a very positive feedback which was that this task appropriately measured the learner's abilities and skills against meaningful learning targets.

The ways in which you have made this task appropriate and accessible for all your learners. You should make reference to your reading on equality and diversity issues in assessment

(200 words)

The assessment tasks of "Looking for work" were designed to address the needs of learners and to evaluate and assess the achievement of those specific needs and goals. The tasks were matched to the learners' needs, aspirations, abilities and preferred learning style which motivated learners because improving telephone skills and phoning for information is very important for the learners. I developed these tasks carefully to respond to the barriers to learning faced by learners so that all individuals can access and have the same opportunity to reach their potential. The topic is relevant for all learners in terms of gender, age, culture, disabilities and social class. The language and the instructions used in these tasks are appropriate to the level of the learners and catered different learning styles of diverse range of learners and the individual needs of the learner.

For students to effectively participate in learning, any barriers to learning must be identified such as physical disabilities, learning difficulties and access to resources and learning plan must ensure that no student is disadvantaged. (hertsdirect.org) A good assessment takes into account the equality and diversity issues in terms of resources, methods, topic, language and individual needs. The topic and the context are sensitive to equality and diversity. Additional support was provided for learners with low level of literacy verbally explaining the task to them. Written instructions are very simple and clear and they can be verbally explained to learners with low level of literacy skills. The tasks and procedures provide students with the opportunity to develop a range of skills and capabilities such as speaking, listening, reading and using new technologies for recording.

One of the learners has very weak eyesight so I prepared the tasks in enlarged font size. Those who need to improve their reading skills gave the information using the job adverts as well as improved their speaking skills for personal use and to be able to communicate with their friends and family.

An evaluation of the design of your assessment task, using feedback from other trainees and/or colleagues and/or learners and/or your mentor

(200 words)

Learners are assessed on asking questions to obtain information, responding to questions, asking for clarification, and the English language skills (vocabulary, sentence structure and verb tenses etc). These formative assessment tasks emphasise the importance of actively engaging students in their own learning processes, identifying learning needs and adjusting teaching appropriately. I actually invited a colleague to watch and evaluate the assessment tasks. The feedback, I received, was very positive and constructive in terms of suitability for the level and needs of the students being assessed against their learning goals.

Approaches and techniques implemented were described appropriate to meet diverse needs of the students and identify areas for improvement through differentiation and adaptation of suitable teaching strategies to raise levels of student achievement. The tasks build students' learning skills by placing emphasis on the process of actively involving students on building skills for peer and self-assessment. Learners also found these tasks very interesting and useful in order to prepare them for the forthcoming exams. They gave a very positive feedback on how this task gave them the opportunity to practice real life skills. They felt as if they were in a real situation. Receiving feedback from the learners helped me plan future learning sessions. The tasks concentrate on one aspect of the ILP at a time, for example learners need to learn and improve their skills in asking for information or read to obtain information and respond to requests for information. Having a few sessions on developing these skills, the learner will be able to carry out similar tasks with confidence.

Task 3

Describe and justify the ways in which written and/or oral feedback is given to a learner. Discuss how feedback and target setting promote learner progress and achievement, whilst also maintaining or increasing the confidence of the learner

(400 words)

Describe and justify the ways in which written and/or oral feedback is given to a learner.

Recently, I provided feedback to one of my Entry 1 learners on a writing task based on the findings and suggestions by Black and Wiliam and also Geoff Petty. (Kurtzdesign GeoffPetty2004) Black and Wiliam concluded in agreement with Professor Hattie that Feedback, very well designed, has a huge effect on learning quality and achievement than any other factor. (study guide, TETA AAL) In Teaching Today, Geoff Petty (2004) summarises Black and Wiliam's main findings, by saying feedback should include Medals, Missions and Clear goals. Geoff refers to grades and marks as measurements not medals. Medals are information about what a student has done well, e.g. 'You have used correct spellings or word order'. Missions are information about what the student needs to improve, correct, or work on e.g. 'try to use conjunctions to join the sentences'. The goals of the assessment should be clear and given in advance to enable the learners to achieve i.e. criteria are explained and illustrated with examples.

I clarified the goals with explanations and examples of the assessment criteria. The task was about writing a short text about 'the food you eat'. I gave the feedback promptly while she was still working on her learning target so that she could understand and use it to improve. The feedback was on a one -to -one basis during a tutorial session. First of all, I asked the learner to self-assess her work and tell how she feels she handled this task. Getting her involved in self-assessment gave her the opportunity to develop her ability to evaluate her learning and improve upon it. (study guide, TETA AAL) Self-assessment can encourage active learning and develop skills such as motivation, reflection and critical thinking.

I provided both oral and written feedback which helped the learner understand what she did well, what areas she still needed to work on and what she needed to do to improve. Instead of correcting her mistakes, I highlighted the type of mistakes using symbols e.g. spelling, punctuation and word order and asked her to work with another student, discuss and correct the mistakes. I gave her sufficient time to act on the feedback given. I also used other methods of feedback suggested by Geoff Petty of using the 'praise sandwich' i.e. praise, constructive criticism and then praise again and formative teaching methods which are 'find faults, fix and follow up by giving her similar tasks to do more work. I also used feedback records to plan future targets and strategies of teaching and learning appropriate for that learner to enable her to achieve meaningful learning goals. I got the learner to set her own goals by talking to me about areas she needs to improve on. Constructive feedback enables and supports students to see their progress against learning targets, identify areas for improvement and hence plan for future learning.

Discuss how feedback and target setting promote learner progress and achievement.

There are many different ways of feedback i.e. written, oral and also visual but it is important that students are given constructive feedback of their performance as well as future targets. A well structured feedback provides students with opportunities to see their progress towards the achievement of learning outcomes. Another highly effective feedback method is displaying student's work or publishing their work in ESOL newsletter. Displaying their work is a highly motivating way to represent how well they are doing in reaching their goals so that students can see how much progress they have made which can help them to learn more effectively. Students truly benefit from a feedback which provides information about their performance and improvement, gives them sense of achievement and motivates them to improve their learning. Using short words or phrases such as "good work" or "well done" with explanations of why and in what respects, boosts students' confidence and provides encouragement to do more work in order to meet their learning goals.

A good feedback develops reflection of learning and clarifies expectations, assessment criteria and goals. Feedback about students' performance significantly enhances learning and encourages positive motivation. It helps students to understand what your expectations are, what they have achieved and what they need to improve.

Discuss how feedback can maintain or increase the confidence of the learner.

Regardless of how often and what types of feedback strategies are used, the most important is the way in which it is provided. It should be provided with a view to encouraging students to make progress and increase their confidence. Positive and timely feedback enables students to identify their strengths as well as weaknesses and develops learner's self-esteem and builds good relationships between students and teachers. (study guide TETA AAL) Geoff Petty refers to the advice suggested by Black and Wiliam in 1998. It is really important to think clearly about the process of giving feedback. Successful and effective feedback should be non-judgmental, forward looking, positive and constructive. The tone and the style should be friendly and suggest ways of improving work. It should avoid competition or comparison with others but encourage self-assessment of own work.

Negative feedback which tells the students only about their errors and bad performance will only de-motivate them. Students become de-motivated when if they don't get any information about how they are doing. If the feedback isn't well designed and personalised in terms of tone, style and content, it can have a very negative influence on student learning. Comparison with other learners will only de-motivate them. Feedback should highlight strong points of the work done informing students of the improvement made in their skills, knowledge and abilities since the last assessment, highlights errors and provide guidance about how they can improve.

Task 4

Discuss the possible value of opportunities you might plan and develop to improve your own practice and knowledge of assessment issues. You should refer to your reading on this subject.

(400 words)

One purpose of assessment is to evaluate your own teaching practice to improve the quality of teaching and learning and to determine if the learning outcomes are being achieved. You can get reliable results, provide feedback on learning and enable students to improve their learning. It's very important for a teacher to assess if the learning is truly taking place in order to meet the learning goals because if you, as a teacher, clearly know how well your students are learning and progressing, you will be able to teach them more effectively. However, using the same assessment methods can disadvantage the students because individual students have individual strengths and weaknesses.

There are numerous ways of assessing teaching and learning and as a tutor, I personally feel the need and urge to explore different ways of assessing learning and by using a variety of assessment methods, I would be able to assess a range of skills and get more reliable results.

Reading some resources, for example Teaching, Training and Learning 4th edition by Reece and Walker, and online search would give me valuable ideas for methods of assessment to improve teaching and learning. I would also consult and observe some experienced ESOL teachers and explore different types of assessment methods which, I strongly feel, will enable me to make my assessment more effective, valuable and interesting for both myself and my students. When creating assessment activities, I need to think clearly about what I want my students to achieve from this course, so that the assessment methods are appropriate to the diverse level, needs, abilities and different learning styles of the students and therefore should aim to enhance student learning.

It is also worthwhile to consider involving other experienced staff members in the assessment practice and observe my lessons to evaluate and review my own assessment methods to help me plan future teaching and learning and motivate students. Assessment results contribute towards quality assurance in terms of feedback, improvement and monitoring of teaching and learning within the department. The results also enable the organisation to enhance teaching and learning quality for both internal and external evaluation processes.

Peer observation helps develop your own practice, share good teaching practices, gather new ideas of teaching strategies, enhance own teaching skills and identify areas for improvement. Attending staff development sessions delivered by Geoff Petty or other renowned authors and theorists will help me learn and implement new skills and ideas in my practice that will improve my own teaching skills and increase student achievement.

Referencing:

TETA 1027 Assessment of Learning, study guide, University of Greenwich

TETA AAL Readings 1.2 and 1.3 - Feedback

Petty, G (2004) Teaching Today - a practical guide (3rd edition), London: Nelson Thornes

http://www.leicestercollege.ac.uk/about-us/ [on-line] (accessed 26.11.12)

Kurtzdesign - www.kurtz.co.uk [on-line]

http://www.geoffpetty.com/feedback.html (accessed on 28.11.12)

http://www.geoffpetty.com/downloads/WORD/BlackandWiliam.doc (accessed on 28.11.12)

Atherton J S (2011) Teaching and Learning; Assessment [On-line: UK]

http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/assessment.htm#Fairness (accessed on 28.11.12)

Equality and Diversity Checklist for Learning and Teaching [on-line]

http://www.hertsdirect.org/infobase/docs/pdfstore/embedEO.pdf (accessed on 28.11.12)

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