Unit 3: Enabling Learning and Assessment

4 April 2017

City and Guilds, DTLLS, 7305, Level 4 Assignment Unit 3: Enabling Learning and Assessment Karen Dennison, 295607 May 2011 There are many reasons why students are assessed and this first section summarises some of the key benefits to students, institutions and teachers as suggested by Race et al (2005). In order to gain qualifications or complete a course, students will be required to prove their competence, knowledge or exposition of a skill, usually through the use of assessments to demonstrate that learning has taken place.

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Students may find assessment useful as it provides information regarding their progress, or identify areas for further development. Comparisons can be made against other students and this can help to give students a sense of how they are getting on compared to their peers. Although assessment may be motivating to some students who are progressing well it may also be demoralising for students who are struggling, or become a block to learning for others who are anxious about the assessment process.

Therefore it is important that assessment is appropriate to the course and level of student and differs according to the psychomotor, cognitive and affective learning domains and this will be discussed in detail later in this essay (Race et al 2005). From the institution and teacher perspective assessment can provide statistical information to monitor the overall performance of the college and indeed individual teachers. Providing information on the number of students who pass or fail courses, in particular the percentage of students who pass.

This can be useful to recruit potential students if results are positive as it may demonstrate quality and excellence. Information following assessment can be useful to identify areas of strength and weakness within course materials, teaching or the organisation. Teachers also benefit from assessment as it can provide a tool to ensure students are directed to the right course or identify whether students have any additional needs and this can be identified as part of initial assessment (Race et al 2005).

It helps to establish whether learning has taken place and can therefore be a measure of the effectiveness of the teaching. It can also be used to monitor progress of students, identify areas for development and provide evidence that students have met the required learning outcomes. The next section considers the stages of assessment and the purpose of each stage linking to Maslow’s self-actualisation model. This will be followed by an analysis of how assessment differs within each of the three main domains of learning as outlined by Bloom. Assessment can take place in many different forms and times during a course.

Formative or continuous assessment takes place during the course and can provide valuable information about how students are progressing in a fairly informal and non-intrusive way, although it may feel to the student that they are continually being assessed (Wilson 2009). This is also supported by Kolb’s learning cycle (1984) where he suggests reflective practice is a key element in developing practice. Boud (1995) also links self-assessment and reflection to effective learning. In contrast, summative assessment occurs at the end of a module or course and is most commonly a formal exam.

Students are tested on their knowledge and awarded a certificate accordingly. This can cause pressure and anxiety for students particularly when grades are required for further learning. Concepts of assessment as outlined by Wilson (2009) include norm referencing where students are assessed and measured against other students. Ipsative assessment involves students assessing themselves against set criteria and Criterion referencing requires competency to be measured against a set of set criteria and awarded a pass if the student meets the required standard.

Assessment can be an effective teaching tool to demonstrate learning that has taken place during a session and also to provide a measure against criteria for the courses as a whole. There are many different ways that students can be assessed and this may depend on the type of subject being taught and the level of student. The Syllabus Standards are set by the awarding body and this will influence the learning outcomes within the class. Assessment can be used at various stages of the learning cycle. As part of the initial assessment process it provides teachers with diagnostic knowledge about their students and identifies any additional needs.

Formative assessment provides on-going information about the student’s progress and summative assessment is a formal exam or test to measure cognitive knowledge at the end of a course or module. Different assessment methods will suit students within the different learning domains as outlined by Blooms taxonomy (1956 – 1967). Bloom suggests multiple choice questions will suit low order cognitive skill, whereas, high order cognitive skill and affective domain skills will suit essays, short answer questions. Students within the psychomotor domain will suit assessment in the form of observations.

Differentiating assessment methods and embedding these into everyday teaching is therefore essential for teachers as this provides valuable feedback whether or not learning has been effective. Assessments should be balanced and varied and include a range of inclusive, relevant and inspirational assessment activities. Formative assessments generally offer more flexibility, whereas the summative assessment is often set by an examination board and therefore differentiation is more difficult to achieve, although this could be in the form of different levels of exam papers (Wilson 2009).

This section of this essay critically evaluates the use of two different assessment activities used to check the learning of students. This will be done by considering the key strengths and weakness of each type of assessment will also be considered, as well as, the Validity; Reliability; Sufficiency; Authenticity and Relevance of each assessment method. The first assessment method is a short answer question paper session delivered to level 3 students on an access health studies course. This was an informal formative type of assessment designed to assess previous learning and help the students to recap on what has been learned to date.

The second assessment students were asked to prepare and deliver a 15 minute oral presentation to demonstrate knowledge gained during the module. This was an individual presentation which provided a formal summative assessment that counted toward their degree programme. Students were required to assess their own performance and they were also peer assessed by two other students within the group. This feedback and self-evaluation included aspects that worked well and areas for development. Tutor feedback was more detailed and included content, delivery and marked against the learning outcomes from the module.

A graded criteria was awarded for this module. These assessment methods use the criterion referencing tool which enables all students to be measured against a set of criteria rather than being compared to another student. Validity is concerned with whether the assessment activity measures what it sets out to measure. Atherton (2011) suggests that to ensure validity a range of assessment methods and approaches should be used. The first assessment activity was intended as a recap and was supported by group discussion so it provided a measure for the students as to their progress, and to me as a tutor regarding areas for development.

A further evaluation is shown in appendix . The second task relates directly to the learning outcomes of the module as set by the awarding body. It is therefore a highly valid. This assessment was summative and provided evidence that students had met the required criteria at the end of a health and safety module. Learners know what is expected as it is outlined in their handbook which they were given a the beginning of the course. Reliability is concerned with whether assessments provide an accurate record for the students.

To improve reliability assessments need to be checked for ambiguities and for teachers to double mark assessments independently, to check scores and grading criteria, this can help to improve reliability of results and reduce the number of false positives (QCA 2009). The first assessment activity was marked by students and then discussed as a group. The discussion helped students to share knowledge. The second task has a marking guide which has detailed criteria for presentation skills and the learning outcomes. Tutor feedback is supported by self evaluation from the student as well as peer feedback, thus providing double loop learning.

This was internally verified by an independent tutor to check for ambiguities. Sufficiency considers whether the syllabus is covered entirely or as part of a group of assessments. The first task students answered questions relating to two modules and so covered part of their overall course. The second assessment covered aspects of a module. The results will form part of an overall grade towards their degree programme. Although all students had to present orally, they also had to prepare handouts, power-point, or group activities.

Students had flexibility within their presentation and this would help meet the different learning needs. Once verified marks were given out during face to face tutorials. Authenticity is important as it provides evidence that the students work is their own. The first assessment activity encouraged students to self-assess their progress, their papers weren’t marked but the answers discussed as a class. Students were then encouraged to write additional comments which they could use for revision. In the second assessment the students were required to sign a declaration of authenticity to provide evidence that it was their own work.

Relevance relates to how the assessment fits in with the programme of work (Wilson, 2009). The first assessment provided students with an example of how the exam would work and was directly related to the topics they had been studying so I think it was highly relevant to their module. The second assessment activity required students to present orally their links from theory to practice and therefore not only highly relevant to meeting the learning outcomes of the module but also to their practice and improved professional practice.

This section relates to an evaluation on a session plan (appendix 1) where I reflect on how feedback from others has informed my own professional practice. I teach a level 3 access course on two consecutive days to different groups of students. Although there are differences between the groups in terms of the dynamics and needs of the students, this does provide me with an opportunity to reflect on my organisation and the session as well as feedback from students and make amendments to timing and order during the second session. I changed the programme around on the second day.

This involved changing the order of the activities around so that a shorter ice breaker activity would commence the session, followed by a short answer paper that again was broken so the students were asked to answer 5 questions, then discussed as a group and then the next 5 questions, rather than answering all 20 as a first activity. This seemed to work much better as it gave the students an opportunity for them to reflect on what they had learned during the module and the short activities broken up with group discussion were more effective than one long reading activity.

Feedback from observations has also improved my practice as it has given me aspects that I need to consider for development. It has also been motivating for me to have positive feedback from my peers noted. This has also improved my self confidence in my teaching ability and this in turn has encouraged me to try new things and I can feel that I am more motivated. I have attached two observations and highlighted areas regarding assessment activities. In conclusion, assessment plays a vital part of the teaching toolkit and has many benefits for students, teachers and organisations.

There are many different ways that assessment can be used and it is essential that a variety of methods are implemented so that all students have the opportunity to demonstrate whether they meet the criteria or standards. After analysing two assessment methods within my own teaching practice as well as considering feedback from others as well as the impact on my students I feel that I have developed both in my ability to be a reflective practitioner as well as. Word count: 1997 References Boud, D. (1964) ‘Enhancing learning through self assessment’, London, Kogan Page. Gravels, A. , ‘Principle and practice in assessment’ Kolb, D. , (1984) ‘Experiential learning: experience as a source of learning and development’ Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice-Hall. Petty, G. , (1998) ‘A practical guide; teaching today’ 2nd eds, London, Nelson Thornes. Race, P. , Broan, S. , and Smith, B. , (2005) ‘500 tips on assessment’ 2nd eds, Oxon, Routeledge Rogers, A. , and Horrocks, N. , (2010) ‘Teaching adults’ 4th eds, Berkshire, Open University Press. Wilson, L. (2009) ‘Practical teaching A guide to PTLLS & DTLLS’ Hampshire, Delmar Cengage Learning. Websites: Atherton J S (2011) Teaching and Learning; The Problem of Assessment [On-line: UK] retrieved 2 May 2011 from http://www. learningandteaching. info/teaching/assess_problem. htm Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (2009) ‘Review of teacher assessment: evidence of what works best and issues for development’, On-line: retrieved 2nd May 2011 from; http://orderline. qcda. gov. uk/gempdf/1445907461/OUCEA_-_Review_of_teacher_assessment_March09. pdf

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