Unit 3 Certificate to Teach in the Lifelong Learning SectorTheory assessment level 4Introduction and Methodology For unit three, principles and practice of assessment, I am required to research the following: Principles of assessment, Peer and Self Assessment, Feedback and Questioning and Assessment Record Requirements. By understanding these areas of assessment I hope to be able to enhance the learning experience of my learners and avoid the dangers of inappropriate or even damaging assessments. Initially when starting this unit we worked in groups to carry out research into the principles of assessment which we then reported back to the whole class, this gave us an opportunity to discuss and understand assessment within the peer group. Petty suggests that group work is active and gives students ?????¦chance to use the methods, principles and vocabulary that they are being taught.??? (Petty 2009, pg 232). It should be noted however that strong individuals can take over group work, often steering it in the wrong direction, I am aware of this as it is one of my own faults during my own learning.
The group work also gave us a chance to explore peer and self assessment Petty believes that ???Self assessment encourages reflection and purposeful activity towards useful goals, as well as encouraging learners to become responsible for their own learning.??? (Petty 2009, pg 339) I have come to appreciate this as a valid tool and am actively trying new methods of self and peer assessment within my own teaching. Brown says ???Self and peer assessment promote lifelong learning, by helping students to evaluate their own and their peers achievements realistically, not just encouraging them always to rely on (tutor) evaluation from on high” (Brown, 1996 in Bostock, Online), The weakness of this being that learners can influence their own results, for this reason particular attention must be paid to the methods used. When researching the areas I used a number of books including: Teaching Today by Geoff Petty, Practical Teaching by Linda Wilson and Principles and Practice of Assessment by Ann Gravells.
In addition I was able to find a number of interesting articles on the internet using various search engines, some of this research you may find at the end of this assignment. Rationale According to Gravells ???Assessment is a way of finding out if learning has taken place??? and it should ???Ascertain if your learner has gained the required skills and knowledge??? (Gravells, 2009, p.7). I agree with what Gravells is saying but I think it is far more than this; I have come to appreciate during my own teaching, the power of well designed and achievable assessment has to encourage and promote further learning. As Reece and Walker state (2007, in Gravells 2009, p.7) ???A test is a systematic procedure for measuring a sample of a student??™s behaviour.
??? If the assessment is thought through and is formative then it can help to change a learner??™s behaviour to a state more conducive to learning. Assessments should be 1. Valid The right method should assess the criteria 2. Reliable Comparable to set standards 3. Authentic Appropriate for the learner, their own work 4.
Current Up to date for learners current skill and teaching 5. Sufficient Enough information to cover all required assessment 6. Fair Do all learners have the same chance to pass Durham University also adds that (Principles of Assessment, Online, 2010) ???Assessment will be efficient for both students and staff such that learning outcomes are not overly assessed and that knowledge and skills can be sampled.??? I would classify this under ???Fair??™ as it would probably create a situation whereby some learners could not pass.
To be fair, all students must be able to take part and pass the assessment, this may require a reader or Braille materials for the blind etc. Gravells states that to be Valid ???the work is relevant to the standards/criteria being assessed??? (Gravells, 2009, p.53). It is no good assuming a learner understands the whole subject based on an assessment that only covers a couple of weeks of previous work. By the same measure the assessment should not assess memory if the criteria are to assess the learner??™s problem solving ability. (Learning & Teaching, Online, On reliability, Atherton says that ???A reliable assessment will produce the same results on re-test, and will produce similar results with a similar cohort of students, so it is consistent in its methods and criteria.??? If an assessment relies on the opinions of an assessor then it cannot be reliable as one assessor may favour one student over another causing a biased assessment. (Atherton JS, Online, 01 June 2011) The types of assessment methods include initial diagnostic, formative, summative, norm and criterion referencing.
Assessment starts at the very beginning of a student??™s academic career. Initial diagnostic assessment can be carried out in a number of ways such as an informal chat to an entrance essay or examination. The goal is to attempt to find out as much information as possible about the student. As you will see I have now redesigned my own initial assessment in order to gain more relevant information, I have a number of learners who are illiterate or have dyslexia, the more information I have on the student, the more I can adapt the learning experience. Formative assessment is an ongoing form of assessment which places much emphasis on informative feedback to learners as a part of the learning process. According to Petty (Petty 2009, pg 480) ???this information must be used by the learner to improve???, I suggest therefore that a good understanding of the feedback being given to learners is essential, the wrong type of feedback or information could easily discourage the continuation of learning. Summative assessment */often comes in the form of an exam, either theory or practical based, and example of this would be the driving test. It should be noted however that assessments such as the driving test would more appropriately be formative/summative, this is because at the end of the driving test the examiner will provide feedback to the learner by explaining why they have failed.
The driving test would also be considered a criterion based assessment; this is because it does not compare one learner to another as is the case with norm-referencing, criterion-referencing compares a learner to a set of standards or criteria. The advantage to this is that an assessor can identify the abilities of that student against a standard. Many assessments such as summative exams are set by awarding bodies and the teacher has no influence on how these take place or the content of them. Glasgow University states ???Quizzes that are rich in feedback can act as a critical tool for students to gauge their own level of performance on a specific topic. The use of formative testing in this way can contribute a great deal to alleviating summative exam stress for students as well as give tutors a good idea of how well (or not) students are progressing in a given course or topic.??? (GLA, Online, 25.
04.2011). If you accept this to be the case then I believe that a good teacher will be able to negate the effects of many of the poorer methods of assessment by preparing learners with better, well thought out assessments. For instance, to prepare students for a summative exam I could use past papers and then use peer and self assessment in a formative way, this will relax learners as they answer and discuss the questions. I have spoken to a few of my colleagues who teach different subjects regarding their procedures. It seems to me that in most cases where there is no control it would still be possible to use formative informal assessments throughout the course in order to relax, encourage and help learners be comfortable with assessment before the final summative assessment takes place by the same measure it can be easy to discourage students with a poorly designed quiz that is too easy to fail.
I myself appear to be in a fairly unique position where there are currently no summative assessments for the courses I teach, this allows me to use many different types and methods as is appropriate. I teach vocational drivers, the outcome is the Driver Qualification Card, this is continuous periodic training that has to be completed every year. Very often my first contact with learners is on the day the course begins, this leaves me with only a very limited amount of information regarding the learners from my initial assessment which normally takes the form of a short telephone interview often with a manager.
I begin the assessment process by handing out a multiple choice quiz. Initially when I first began teaching and did not understand assessment so well I found this method extremely poor, learners did not enjoy it and it created a negative atmosphere as learners found they got much of it wrong. QCA say (in Gravells 2009, p.32) ???As part of effective teaching and learning, learners themselves also need to be actively engaged in the assessment process, identifying what it is they need to learn and develop.??? Relating to this, Hill states that ???An adult learner must first investigate why they must undertake the learning task??? (2001, Pedagogical and Andragogical Learning, Online). This is core to the andragogical learning methods I am employing, based on this I redesigned the way I assessed and presented the quiz in the following way.
Instead of just handing out a quiz at the beginning of the session and asking learners to blindly fill it out, I decided to continue talking to learners as they filled out their answers, I began to give them instructions, pointing out that some questions had more than one answer. I also made a point of reassuring learners that this quiz was for them alone and that they could change their answers as the course continued through the day, I even discuss and give the answer to one of the question as I have found that this relaxes the learners more, effectively the aim is pushing what was initially a formal assessment towards a more informal formative assessment. To make the assessment more formative I then used the questions at different times of the learning session as discussion points, this allows me to use differentiation and feedback, taking the time to discuss answers and develop the views of every learner. I found the following advantages: 1.
I have found it is a useful initial assessment tool, I can easily spot slower learners as I talk to them and observe who completes the questions at differing rates. 2. I can now often identify learning difficulties such as illiteracy and dyslexia, I see this by watching the slower learners and then seeing how they answer the questions I read out aloud. This allows me to adjust my teaching by, for instance, not singling them out for reading etc. but still finding ways to help them with embedded literacy. This also ensures the assessment is fair and that all learners can participate without failing. 3.
By adding in simple questions for every taxing question I encourage learners attitudes, giving them the confidence to take part in the process. 4. Using self assessment and discussion at different times that were relevant to encourage higher learning by having learners challenge and question some of the more ambiguous questions with multiple answers. Strictly speaking this is in fact one method used in several different ways and with several different aims, I now know what my aims are in this assessment and I can make my own notes accordingly to record the findings and adjust the individual learning plans that I must create during each session.
Because learners are marking their own work and changing it as they go along, they are effectively self assessing, a point is often argued and answers changed, learners can in this way appreciate what they have achieved as they go along thus promoting participation and autonomy. This assessment is valid because I am assessing initially their ability to carry out the quiz, their attitude and for whether they have undisclosed problems. Next I am assessing their ability to react to new information, testing their ability to take discussion forward and add opinion and argument. I also believe it is reliable in the fact that the answers are based on legal requirements of the learners work, however it could be considered as not reliable as the overall purpose is far more than just getting correct answers.
The assessment is more about interpretation and assumptions, anyone could run the test for answers but that is not what it is for so another teacher may not see the same outcomes. This assessment starts as lower or cognitive learning and changes to higher learning as it progresses. I record results of attitude and learning problems as I observe learners, I ensure everyone takes part using a room map and I tick off learners as they take part ensuring they are all assessed and everyone has feedback. My next assessment method is also informal and formative. I use laminated cards that list various requirements that must be adhered to or carried out, the cards must be placed under two headings and it is the task of the learners within small groups to decide which of the two headings the cards should be placed under. My aim in this assessment is to encourage a higher understanding of the responsibilities the learners face in their day to day work. By observing and discussing the chosen solutions with each of the groups in turn I am able to assess their level of thinking. Initially groups will separate the cards under each heading, in considering Bloom??™s Taxonomy this would be lower level thinking and learning, a regurgitation of perceived facts, however by using open questions or for instance, by asking a group to consider if just one of their solutions could be changed or placed equally under both headings groups will very quickly begin to discuss and reconsider all of their solutions.
This leads to a higher state of learning whereby learners begin to make abstract judgments and give more consideration to what they thought they knew. This new level of thinking inevitably leads to a new attitude where they cease to take information at face value and begin to consider consequences and outcomes. Feedback is given through discussion and using anecdotes, with drivers being asked to identify situations they have come across that are relevant, I would then comment on the appropriateness of their anecdote or try to identify relevant parts within it. In this way I can ensure feedback is positive and constructive. This assessment is fair as all learners can take part and learners with specific difficulties can easily be accommodated, it is a good tool for encouragement as the task and assessment has no wrong answers, its goal is to change attitudes and increase the desire to learn through success. It is relevant because the learners I teach often have very good surface technical knowledge, ask them a question based on the regulations they have to abide by and they will usually be able to give a fairly accurate answer however, most of them never give consideration to the reason or necessity of these regulations and so see them often as an awkward requirement. This changing of attitudes can improve their performance in their work and improve their ability to assess themselves in the future.
I am not so sure that this assessment is reliable, by its very nature it is abstract with no clear right or wrong answers, once I am satisfied through discussion and feedback that there is a change amongst the learners I will then take the opportunity to introduce more complex subjects that will require more thought on the part of the learners. Because there is no summative assessment within the subject I teach and the assessments I do carry out cannot even be considered formative-summative, only formative, I have decided for my third assessment method to look at a summative assessment in the form of a final exam that I will be required to carry out if I extend my courses to cover ADR (Carriage of dangerous goods), this is regulated by the SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority). Brown & Knight say summative assessment is “a sampling of student achievements which lead to a meaningful statement of what they know, understand and can do” (1999, p.37 in Roehamption University, Online), While a well planned summative assessment could be made to do this I believe the statement is a little naive for the real world application of most summative assessments, and wonder if they were considering more formative-summative assessments. In my own experience, a purely summative assessment such as an exam only tends to give a measure of core knowledge, not the ability to apply that knowledge in a more creative way, for instance, I understand perfectly how a piano creates sound, and I could learn to repeat a series of key presses, but I could not play a concerto that could move a listener without learning how to interpret the music. The summative assessment for ADR is a pre-set exam at the end of the course, there is no feedback from the exam as a failure requires the participant to re-take the full course and sit the same exam again. It is a fair assessment in part as it can be retaken however, in order to retake the exam you do need to retake the full course at extra cost.
Overall I would question the fairness of the exam as it does make assumptions about learners ability and from the courses I have taken, does not offer much in the way of support for learners with for instance, language difficulties. The assessment criteria is a test of core knowledge, the governing body just want a measure of this knowledge and do not assess for the ability to interpret or use the knowledge. Whilst not ideal in a real world situation, the assessment is valid and reliable. Results from the exam are recorded and sent along with the original test papers to the SQA and copies of results test papers must be kept for 5 years.
The reason for this is that the ADR certificate lasts for 5 years and results can be reviewed for any training provider during this period. Conclusions and Personal Development Throughout this process my aim has been to improve the outcome for the learners I teach, by developing my own knowledge and skills I am able to develop the knowledge and skills of others. I now consider the way I ask questions, trying to ensure that questions are open and cause learners to expand on their thinking. Bostock says ???We know that learning is improved by detailed, positive and timely feedback on student work??? (No date, Bostock, Online), my excitement for this new understanding of assessment and the results it appears to deliver for my teaching, must be measured against the dangers of creating poor assessment. I must keep in mind for instance the reliability and validity of peer or self assessment, to this end I think I must place great importance on clear criterion for assessment at all times. To develop my own maths and IT core skills I decided to look at dropout statistics for universities within the UK, although the statistics are hard to find and patchy at best, I found that extended use of a number of search engines led me to an article by The Guardian(2009, Guardian, Online). This article lists the percentage of student dropouts in 2006-2007, I note from this that the range between the university with the lowest dropout rate and the highest is 33.1%.
Whilst there could be many socio economic reasons for this wide difference, one does wonder if the methods of assessment used by one establishment over another have any effect. In developing my literacy core skills I have read a number of books and articles on the internet relating to assessment. I have also tried to write this assignment in a more academic style rather than the formal report style I am used to using.
Atherton J S (2011) Teaching and Learning; Assessment, (Online) Available at: http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/assessment.htm (Accessed 01 June 2011)Bostock S (No Date) Student and Peer Assessment, (Online) Available at: http://www.palatine.ac.uk/files/994.
pdf (Accessed: 29 April 2011) GLA (Glasgow University) (No Date) Assessment for Learning: Using Moodle Quizzes (Online) Available at: http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_91803_en.pdf (Accessed 26 April 2011) Gravells A (2009) Principles and Practice of Assessment, Learning Matters Ltd Guardian Online (2009) University Participation and Student Dropout Rates (Online) Available at: http://www.guardian.
co.uk/education/table/2009/jun/04/university-drop-out-rates (Accessed 01 May 2011) Hill F (2001) Pedagogical and Andragogical Learning (Online) Available at: http://authorsden.com/visit/viewarticle.aspAuthorID=3256&id=1416 (Accessed: 28 April 2011) McMillan, James H.
(2000). Fundamental assessment principles for teachers and school administrators. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7 (Online). Available at: http://PAREonline.net/getvn.
aspv=7&n=8 (Accessed May 1, 2011)Petty G (2009) Teaching Today (4th Edition), Nelson Thornes. Roehampton University (2011) A Guide to Good Practice in Assessment (Online) Available at: http://www.roehampton.ac.uk/guidetogoodpracticeinassessment/typesofassessment/summativeandformativeassessment/index.html (Accessed: 28 April 2011)