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Assessment strategies can vary wildly, dependant on the subject or what is required to be gleaned from the students. Be it in the form of the main associated learning domain linked with that subject or other aspects associated with teaching & learning. For example dance and sports would use the psycho-motor learning domain and require an assessment that is able to demonstrate their ability in that region. Possibly using an assessment that requires the learner to produce a series of movements that display this knowledge and to help the teacher to determine whether it is being used in the correct manner/ order to fulfil the main objective.
Linking this format to the ones used in design/ art, would be to look at setting the assessment to determine how well the students use colour, line, shape and texture, by producing an end product that takes into account all of these aspects.
So for the planning of this assessment we would also need to look at how to go about setting up this assessment to take advantage of the following aspects that are required by the course curriculum and other aspects such as key skills to help combine them into an easily markable format. With this in mind, the task for assessment could be based on producing a poster (psycho-motor) for an art exhibition, in the style of a well known artist (contextual), taking note of how they have used line, tone, colour, shape and texture (curriculum) and then place the information regarding the exhibition within poster (key skills).
How to Plan the use of Formal Summative Methods
Formal summative assessment usually takes place at the end of a unit, module or course, to help determine/ summarise that what has been taught/ shown to students has actually been taken in by the students. In other words it is assessing the learners end-stage knowledge and retention of information that has been issued/ taught to them. This is highly important in gauging whether your teaching methods are actually working and thus giving you a benchmark on which to improve upon. It is in effect allowing you to measure learning proficiency and thus progression with succeeding assessments.
So with this in mind, there would need to be a succession of assessments, concluding each fundamental aspect of the course, to ensure the students are picking up all of the required elements. Along with this it would also be wise to set assessments that integrate all, or most of these fundamental elements, into one main assessment. This main assessment could take the form of a major project or end of year exam, to determine if the the students have integrated the elements taught and used them in the correct manner to produce the desired results.
The advantage of using this summative type of assessment is to aid the learners in retaining information in bite size chunks. Whilst also ensuring that they have taken on board the required elements to allow them to progress. As it will be easier to determine if the students are struggling with a particular section and to then help at that point, than to have the student struggle through the following sections and end up rejecting the course.
Ensuring Formal Summative Methods are fit for purpose
Making these summative assessments fair, valid and appropriate would entail using differentiation to help cater the project, task or exam wording to cater to all of your students abilities and cultures. There were issues with IQ tests, that were mainly set-up for white middle class students and therefore gave a skewed result when other ethnic groups took the exam, i.e. due in part to communication/ language barriers, also in the understanding of the what the question was asking of them (mixed messages).
The validity and how appropriate the test is concerns whether the assessment is related to what has been taught and the relevance of recalling the information, i.e. is it relevant to remember pi to 50 decimal places and is it fair to put questions in an exam that you haven't taught the students? Validity also concerns, making sure a test is testing what the tester means it to be testing (not off the subject or area intended).
There is also the aspect of the difficulty of the assessment as being too easy or too difficult can have a negative impact on the students in either giving them a false sense of the complexity of a subject or causing them too much anxiety. This area can also tie in with the reliability of the assessment, in the fact that alternating them between too hard and too simple can give the students negative conceptions of themselves and their abilities.
Reliability also concerns the consistency of results, i.e. will the students always achieve similar results if everything else is kept constant.
Moderation & Verification Procedures
Moderation & verification where it is linked to the awarding body, whether it be internal or external, are usually of the summative type of assessment. This is due in part to test that progression and learning is taking place and to form some sort of results to base achievement on. The significance of this is to allow for standards and benchmarks to be created for monitoring purposes and for these records to then be used in a quality improvement plan to highlight action points for the following years teaching practice and curriculum improvement.
The implications are that there has to be a program set-up, to cater to these requirements, and various procedures and policies put in place to allocate the required individuals to facilitate the program. The criteria that is used, is to allow for internal verification to take place via selecting & training individual teachers to be verifiers and making sure that sufficient (large enough) samples of units and students are checked, covering a cross-section of abilities and courses. This brings us back to reliability, in that the internal verifiers have to checked by external verification or shown to be marking with the correct degree of accuracy in regards to the standards and policies put in place.
'The verification process ensures that:-
1. Where more than one assessor is responsible for the assessment of an assignment a prior meeting takes place with the aim of establishing agreed standards prior to grading.
2. Assessment is consistent and to national standards.
3. Authenticity, sufficiency, validity and reliability are upheld across a range of assessors and a range of assessment methods.' [Tower Hamlets College, 2010]
Recruitment, Retention & Achievement
Statistics & graphs can be produced from this data that is gathered through the verification process and used to highlight significant aspects that may require addressing. Attached is said file (CAO_Graphs_Stats.xlsx) that picks out that there is a major correlation between attendance and success rates of tracked course. Could be the main reason why EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) was introduced, to try and help the success rates.
Organisational Funding Requirements
Explain how recording & reporting on learners progress & achievement is used to provide data on achieving
Recording & reporting on these learners figures can help to gauge areas where there is high correlation, either positive or negative, to help determine any areas that are causing cause for concern. This can be valuable in highlighting areas that need to be tackled in ensuring better achievement rates, like the example with my learners course which showed a high correlation between attendance and success. This shows that actively targeting attendance can have a direct influence on the achievement rate.
What this data shows can be interpreted in a number of ways, from different points of view. One could be looking at why there is low attendance figures. Is it down to the course difficulty, lack of teacher support or due to the students own personal situation & multitude of other possibilities. Tackling the issue of attendance is another problem entirely. One method as noted earlier is the EMA to help on the students personal finance aspect, but this area could also benefit from better teacher support in finding out the real issues concerning the individual student and trying to resolve these issues where possible.
But the main aspect of these figures is calculate the funding given to the colleges that can be linked to performance or even linked to the withdrawal date of students, i.e. if student leaves after 6 weeks the college are still entitled to partial funding for that student.
Part Two: (750 words)
Assessment for Learning
Assessment for learning is a form of feedback for both the teacher and student, it allows both parties to examine the processes involved in teaching & of learning and how it affects the assessment. It looks at how changing certain attributes or methods of teaching & learning, can have an effect on what the student can pick-up & retain. There are numerous aspects to this heading, ranging from actively involving the student in the assessment procedure, via setting their own goals, through to assessing their own & peers work. It entails finding out where your student is at, in terms of their work/ ability at this precise moment, showing them where they should be aiming for and then working out a process/ plan of action for getting them to that goal. Along the way building their self-confidence and motivation through constructive praise that offers guidance on the correct action to take.
Using assessment for learning with your own students can take many forms, the main one being of letting your students know, what it is you're going to teach them and the reasons for doing so. Possibly even working with them to help determine their own route for attaining the goal and showing the stages of how to get there.
Whilst teaching them, it can be about offering constructive criticism and praise of their progression towards the goal and guiding them towards it by using reflective questioning.
'Effective questioning encourages learners to reveal how they are learning, as well as what they are learning. It can reveal deep learning, not just surface learning. Effective questioning is not the sole preserve of the teacher. Learners can learn to formulate their own effective questions, helping them to become expert learners who know where to focus their efforts in order to improve.' [Quality Improvement Agency Guide, 2010]
Differentiate for & of
Informal assessment allows for change and flexibility within the model used and is a continuous, formative process that enables the student to know how they are progressing and whether the techniques that they are employing are working. It also allows the teacher to determine how well learning is going and to alter or adjust the methods used to facilitate for a better method/ style or learning environment.
The informal approach can also run to particular judgements made by the tutor on behalf of their own interactions with the students i.e. determining whether the student is likeable, trustworthy or knowledgeable. It is also preferred over the formal in terms of the students ability to handle pressure as this informal method creates a more stress free and friendly learning environment.
Formal assessment is usually linked to the awarding bodies criteria for marking and usually involves summative, terminal exams under strict guidelines to help determine the students retained and applied knowledge.
The main feature of this type of assessment is to put markers next to the students, in the form of grades & certificates, to help society determine which of them would be the favoured candidate in terms of employability. Though as has been pointed out in various articles, this may not be the best method of approaching assessment due to some students dislike of formal exams and not performing to their full potential, also down to the fact personal traits (friendliness & banter) may be favoured over grading. The grades (presuming they are good enough) are there mainly to give them the chance to get to the interview stage.
Assessment Strategy Employed
The choice of assessment strategies can have huge influences on the way individual students perform, achieve and participate. This is due in part to the diversity of the types of strategies on offer and to which learning domain or subject type they best suit. Using the traditional type exam as a starting point, it is clear to see this style of assessment does not suit all subject types and certainly does not tailor itself to meet the demands of the individual student. The main downfall of this type of assessment lies in its inability to be flexible and offer a stress free environment which may cause anxiety in students and cause them to under-perform. It also offers little or no feedback to allow progression or improvement and may teach the students to learn in an inferior way that is detrimental to future learning where more in depth learning association is required.
Conversely there are structured type learning curriculum that offer the syllabus up in smaller chunks and only allow the students to progress when they know that they are competent at that unit via informal assessment and guidance. This allows the tutors the advantage of knowing the areas of difficulties the student has with the subject and allowing them to change it so as to become easier to comprehend in future delivery. The more stress-free environment also allows for greater or fuller participation from the student.
(Section 7 of ILP, when complete)
Internet. 2009, [website, pdf]
Internet. 2009, [website]