The key concepts of assessment Concepts are the aspects involved throughout the assessment process, for example: accountability achievement assessment strategies benchmarking evaluation internally or externally devised assessment methods (formal and informal) progression transparency types of assessment e.g. initial (at the beginning), formative (ongoing) or summative (at the end) You need to be accountable to your learners and your organisation to ensure you are carrying out your role as an assessor correctly. Your learners should know why they are being assessed and what they have to do to meet the assessment criteria.
You will also be accountable to the awarding organisation if you assess accredited qualifications. You might be accountable to employers if you are assessing their staff in the work environment. There may be other organisations, such as CAA, HSE (First Aid), to whom you are accountable for your assessment decisions. Lastly you should remember you may be held accountable in law for decisions you make. You may be required to analyse achievement data and compare this to national or organisational targets.
It’s always a useful evaluation method to examine records of how many learners you have, how many successfully complete their programme and in what timescale. You should follow the assessment strategy for your subject, which will ensure you are carrying out your role correctly. This may be derived from a Sector Skills Council, the Awarding Organisation, or internally. The CAA, in CAP699, have statements on assessment. For 699 and many qualifications you should hold, or be working towards, the required assessor qualifications. Benchmarking involves comparing what is the accepted standard for a particular subject area against how well your own learners’ are performing. This could be internally, or through discussion/working with other organisations in the same industry. Using benchmarking data can help inform target setting for individuals, or groups. If learners don’t achieve the benchmark, you carry out an evaluation of your programme and identify if improvements can be implemented. Evaluation of the assessment process should always take place to inform current and future practice. All aspects of the assessment cycle should be evaluated on an ongoing basis and feedback obtained from all involved. Internally devised assessments might be produced by you or other staff at your organisation such as: assignments, projects or questions which will also be marked by you. Externally devised assessments are usually produced by an awarding organisation, for example, an examination. Summative assessments usually count towards achievement of a qualification, whereas formative assessments are used to monitor ongoing progress and development. Progression should be taken into account when assessing learners, i.e. what they are going to do next. It could be another unit of a current qualification, a different level of qualification, or continuation ” such as maintenance of competence, but with continual improvement. Progression opportunities should be discussed with your learner to ensure they are on the right route and that they are capable of achieving them. To assist transparency, you need to ensure that everyone who is involved in the assessment process clearly understands what is expected and can see there is nothing untoward taking place. That includes your own interpretation and understanding of the assessment requirements, as well as that of your learners. You should be honest with your learners and not let them feel they have achieved more than they are capable of. Auditable records must always be maintained throughout the assessment process. Types of assessment include initial, formative, and summative as well as diagnostic tests which identify a learner’s current knowledge and experience. Some types of diagnostic tests can also identify learners with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, etc. (you should research these terms and how they affect may affect your learners). Initial assessment is carried out prior to, or at the beginning of, a programme to identify your learner’s starting point and level. Formative assessment is ongoing, and summative assessment is at the end. Principles of assessment The principles are how the assessment process is put into practice, for example, being: fair ” ensuring the assessment process is honest and moral, and takes into account confidentiality and integrity, assessment activities should be fit for purpose, and planning, decisions and feedback justifiable, and safe ” ensuring the methods used are appropriate, there is little chance of plagiarism, the work can be confirmed as authentic, confidentially is taken into account, learning and assessment was not compromised in any way, nor was the learner’s experience or potential to achieve (safe in this context does not relate to health and safety but to the assessment types and methods used). Two important principles are known as VACS and SMART. VACS Valid ” the work is relevant to the assessment criteria. Authentic ” the work has been produced solely by the learner. Current ” the work is still relevant at the time of assessment. Sufficient ” the work covers all the assessment criteria. Following VACS will help ensure assessment decisions are accurate To ensure that your decisions are in line with requirements they should also be Reliable ” the work is consistent across all learners, over time and at the required level. Clearly this applies to more than one learner, VACS applies to all, individual, or groups.Planned and holistic assessment is helpful to increase the quality of teaching and learning. Assessments must be planned rather than happen spontaneously. The factors to consider when planning an assessment are both practical at a micro level and holistic at macro level. For instance, time, date, location, method of assessment, subject area (use holistic approach ) and duration should be published and planned before the assessment, which may enhance the teacher and learners ability. There are advantages in planning assessments in a holistic way, which give wider picture when assess the individual. For instance, seven units of AAT Level 3 are very close to real life, therefore assessor link feedback with practical accounting. It is possible if assessment is planned and holistic. Application of SMART targets is useful tool to achieve the strategic and educational goals of assessment.Specific area covered according to course requirement- learners are able to follow these rules and more focused on their given tasks which may increase their efficiency and interest in relevant subject. (Black et all; 1998)Measurable application used for holistic assessment to check the efficiency of teacher and learners within limited boundaries. The assessor monitors the progress for better output and future prospects of the learner. information about how well course is going can be obtained from the measurement of result . ( Wiliam et al. 2008: 451) Achievable learning aim is useful element for the holistic assessment to achieve the occupational competency in the working environment. The planned and holistic assessment is helpful for learners to enhance their professional skills . Relevant to the issue is one of the key factors of holistic assessment. Assessor is able to find out issue within the relevant area which may improve the result and save time. Time bound activities can produce more effective results to achieve the strategic and learning aims- The assessor has to give feedback on time because at the same time learners are assessing and learning. (3.1 ; 3.2; 3.3)Planning is a key factor to minimise the risk and maximise the quality of assessment and learning. Reece determined four risks of assessments, which we minimise with the help of advance planning of assessment. Health and Safety is a major issue in educational sector. An assessor is able to identify hazards if assessment is planned before e.g. checking computer and wires before assessment and assessor may take action before time if there is any problem. Before an assessment, physical condition of the room is also checked including: light, air ventilation, seating arrangement, appropriate temperature and health and safety of the environment. The wheel chair users are provided with ample space to move. Learner stress is one of the causes of risk. It is responsibility of the assessor to make sure that learn must have no fear and stress during assessment. If assessor is well planned and fully aware about the learner’s needs then assessor might be able to provide a fear and stress free environment to the learner during the assessment. Evidence is a life blood of assessment. Good planning crate strong evidences of assessment which may cause high quality and low risk of assessment. Fairness is an important part of assessment. Assessment must be unbiased, therefore assessor needs to be well planned to give transparent and fair results. (Reece and Walker, 2002). (3.5)Individual needs must be fulfil, while assessing the learners. All assessments should be monitored to ensure that the method used or indeed any element of the assessment plan does not disadvantage a particular person. There should be no barriers to assess a person on the basis of ability, disability, language, gender, race, religion and culture. All learners should treat equally. All students have same exam condition and time except students with learning support or specific needs e.g. extra time for an exam allowed to the students with a reader or a writer. Students with learning needs or disabled students must have extra support during the exam but assessors treat them fairly. Learners with SEN are dealt accordingly. If there is a learner with impaired vision or dyslexia, they will be provided with Braille or coloured copies of the papers. AAT gives colourful paper to the dyslexic learners or large image on the screen to the impaired vision learners. (4.4, 8.3)Strengths and limitations are depending on the assessment methods. Different assessment methods having different strengths and limitations. We shall consider some of them.Method Strengths LimitationsInterview Instant response. Immediate clarification of an issue. Allows for face to face assessment. Can be extremely stressful. Interview may be biased against certain types of people. Unless recorded, there is no evidence to refer to later. Photograph Visual evidence what is useful if the assessor is not able to be there at that time. Quick to achieve and not very complicated. It is a snapshot of a moment and does not tell the whole story. It is static. There may not be enough information on the photograph in order to assess.Written Test Learner can check their own learning as they are writing. Is it learning or just remembering? Can be discriminatory for some learners.Observation An immediate assessment can take place. The process can be recorded at the time. When being studied, people can modify their behaviour. Is it a true reflection of what happens all the time? (2.1)Evidence for sufficient; authentic and current assessment is required that decisions are valid, reliable and fair. Every effort should be made to ensure that assessment decisions are valid, reliable and sufficient. Validity: assessment should be based upon the required outcomes or competencies and their associated criteria. Assessment is said to be valid if the assessor refers only to the stated criteria and assessment is fit for criteria. Authentic: the individual’s own work and prove that work is real and truthful. Current: is the evidence up-to-date or relevant to the time? Sufficiency: in order that an assessment may be deemed to be sufficient adult learners must be able to demonstrate that all the criteria within each of the specified outcomes or competencies have been met, including any necessary underpinning knowledge and understanding, where appropriate. Reliability: is concerned with the consistency of assessment. The degree to which an assessor’s opinion may match that of another assessor in the same situation, with a similar adult learner using the same criteria. (5.1;5.2)Peer and self assessment is use full tool to engage the learners, but teacher needs to make sure that assessment should be transparent and unbiased. Assessor needs to make sure that all learners are marking fairly and equally. Although peer and self-assessment have been identified as important components of formative assessment, but peer or learner must be honest but not critical to the point of harm. To save time and create interest; teachers provide model answers to the students and ask students to mark each other’s work and provide written feedback (peer marking). Peer marking is not reliable for subjective tests because there are no modal answers for subjective tests. Teachers use peer and self assessment to enhance learning: (1) to increase student involvement in the learning process (e.g. students assume teaching responsibilities), (2) to increase social interactions and trust in others, (3) to facilitate individual feedback, and (4) to focus students on the process rather than the product. (Johnson, 2004). Peer and self assessments used as formative evaluations, which are especially useful with group instruction and can both enhance the learning experience and positively influence on achievement of students. (4.1;4.3) Feedback and questioning is effective, if it is transparent and holistic. Holistic approach is more effective, because learners can easily understand the practical based questions. Why we ask questions from students? How can we enhance their knowledge through assessment? It all depends on the feedback. We assess the students to provide them feedback. Feedback can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic feedback comes from within the students and extrinsic feedback is provided from someone else. Intrinsic feedback is better because students become more independent. If students pay attention to the feedback, it enable them to rectify their own mistakes and eventually enhances their knowledge (formative assessment); therefore it is very important that feedback should be clear, reliable, on time and supportive (Gibbs; 1988). Teachers can ask questions and provide them oral feedback but oral feedback has no proof. Type of feedback depends on the nature of an assessment. Teachers can ask the students and give them a liberty to choose the type of feedback- in this way learners will be motivated to pay more attention and will comprehend their own difficulties. (7.2)Assessor is responsible to plan and communicate when an assessment will take place make sure the awarding body requirements and criteria are met carry out risk assessments keep appropriate and timely records feedback in a professional and supportive manner review progress (1.3)Regulations and requirements relevant to the assessment in accounting come from the college and the awarding body (AAT). In case of AAT level 3, course is based on summative assessment. Teacher assesses the learners before exam through formative assessment, therefore teacher have to follow the regulations set by the awarding body (AAT). Teacher set all tasks and mock exams (formative assessment) based on awarding body. The type of risks involved in my area of responsibility are largely practical in nature e.g. classrooms are safe, technology works and fire procedures are known. There is however a risk to the learners of stress and exam pressure, so that needs to regulated and accounted for during the times they are being assessed. (1.4; 3.4)Legal issues, policies and procedures are involved internally (College) and externally (awarding body) in case of AAT. No assessment should have unnecessary risk attached to it and should conform to legal requirements. Data protection, health and safety and confidentially are common issues, therefore data protection laws , health and safety laws and learners welfare laws are well defined in the college and AAT web site. Assessment records must be kept in a confidential manner and learners should be informed of this manner. Information about each learner is available on line but third person is not allowed to check that information. (8.1)