Understanding the Principles and Practices of Assessment.Daniel Whalley 1. Explain the functions of assessment in learning and development. (1.1)When a new learner starts they should have an initial assessment. The initial assessment is used to identify what level the learner is working at and what they should be aiming towards. It will also give the learner an idea on how the assessment process works. They need to be assessed against any previous training they have received if applicable. The assessment is also used to identify if the learner has any special educational needs or requirements.
Any special needs or extra requirements may need to be met to aid the assessment where possible without affecting the integrity of the assessment. The initial assessment will also be used to see if the learner is on the correct course for them. Once the learner starts the qualification they will have ongoing formative assessments, this is where the assessor gathers any evidence by assessing the learner in action.
By using a range of assessment methods allows the learners to meet the criteria of the units, whilst also checking the evidence collected is, valid, authentic, reliable and sufficient. This will then ensure that the learner is receiving the correct standard of training and to check knowledge and understanding and can also highlight any areas for concern early. When the learner is of a standard to meet the criteria set by the governing body then a summative assessment takes place. The learner is informed of the outcome, the decisions of the assessment and what actions are needed if necessary to progress on to the next level of qualification for their continued professional development (CPD).2. Identify generic regulations and requirements relevant to assessment and those specific to your own area of practice. (1.4)Pearson BTEC Level 1 Award / Certificate / Extended Certificate / Diploma in Construction, Specification, Issue 6: June 2016.0. Assessors must hold the relevant qualifications NVQ level 2 in the relevant subject area.Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 applies to all places of work, not just construction environments. This act is applicable to anyone entering the area of work. Before any assessment all learners need to be made aware of any health and safety policies specific to that area of work e.g. fire evacuation plan and muster points etc.The PUWER regulations cover all working equipment such as tools and machinery. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.These regulations cover all work activities in which a person does the lifting instead of a machine. The act describes the correct and safe way to lift, which in turn reduces the risk of injury,The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. There are certain situations in which you will need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).Under RIDDOR your employer must report to the HSE any accident that results in: death, major injury or any other injury that means the injured person is not at work for more than three consecutive days.Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.The COSHH regulations state how employees and employers should work with, handle, move and dispose safely of, potentially dangerous substances. A substance hazardous to health is anything that might negatively affect your health, for example:1. Dust or small particles from things like wood, bricks and fumes from chemicals. 2. Chemicals in things like cement, paints and adhesives.3. Explosive or flammable chemicals or material.PVC Assessment strategy aims to ensure that assessment methodology is valid, reliable and does not disadvantage or advantage any group of learners or individuals. To ensure that the assessment procedure is open, fair, free from bias and in accordance with national standards. To ensure that there is accurate and detailed recording of assessment decisions.3. Compare the strengths and weaknesses of a minimum of 4 assessment methods with reference to meeting the needs of individual learners. (2.1)Witness testimony. Strengths;The learner can prove capable or competent without the assessor being present. This allows the learner to complete tasks that may not occur regularly and gives flexibility to the work e.g. distance learning. This type of assessment is authentic if observed by a competent and trusted person i.e. learner’s manager or foreman.Weaknesses; The work has to be proven that it is authentic, the work of the learner, and must be suitable to match the assessment criteria. The employer could sign it off so that the learner can pass the task, but the learner may not have completed the work themselves and may not understand the content.Observation of performance.Strengths;The assessor can see the learner in action (authentic) and can feel it is safe to make mistakes and realise their own errors and then use them to improve. It allows the learner to be observed again if they did not fully achieve the right requirements or criteria. The assessor can also observe a few different aspects at the same time (holistic assessment). Weaknesses;The assessor must arrange a time and place for the assessment to suit both learner and assessor and also communicate with any others where applicable. The learner may put on an act for assessment purpose which is outside the norm for the learner. When the learner is being observed the assessor must ask questions to confirm knowledge and understanding.Assignments.Strengths;The assessor and learner can assess and be assessed on several aspects of the qualification at once. Some assignments can be set out by the awarding body who will set clear marking criteria this helps the learner understand what is expected of them. With assignments the learner can add to their work if they do not meet the requirements for the unit first time.Weaknesses;To complete an assignment the learner must have been taught everything beforehand or be known by the learner, this can also be time consuming for the learner to complete. The learner may struggle with written assignments if the learner has any special needs e.g. dyslexia. The assignment must be individually assessed and written feedback given which can be time consuming for the assessor. The assignment may be marked by the assessor with a biased eye and not give a true mark of the assignment.Recognised prior learning (RPL).Strengths;Good for both assessor and learner. RPL can save learners from having to duplicate a task that they have already completed and achieved in relation to the qualification.Weaknesses;Can be time consuming to check if the RPL meets the criteria and requirements of the qualification. And the evidence the produce to support the RPL will need to be checked to see if it valid.4. Summarise the types of risks that may be involved in assessment in own area of responsibility and explain how to minimise risks though the planning process. (3.4, 3.5)In my subject areas there are a number of health and safety hazards from sharp tools and materials to blow torches which all learners will use. Before the assessment the learner needs to be ready and have prior sufficient training and knowledge. The learner needs a good clear understanding of what is involved in the assessment process to prevent any unnecessary stress on the learner and to make the process fair and transparent, so that the learner has the best chance of achieving the unit. Some learners may have complex needs; but this will be considered and reasonable adjustments will be made e.g. some learners may suffer from dyslexia or a physical disability and may need extra time or special equipment to help make the assessment more comfortable. In my subject area I reduce risks for the learners by doing a number of things from visual checks of the work area to identify any hazards to making sure all risk and method statements are in place. I will then check any tools and equipment for damage. All learners must wear PPE provided before any learning takes place. I set formative assessments with informal marking to allow the learners to work towards the assessment and gain knowledge and understanding. I use written workbooks for the learners, these workbooks cover; tools, materials, and any PPE needed and also give the learner an understanding of the units they are going to cover and the criteria before the final assessment. Before the learner starts the task, I will demonstrate to them and explain the prosses and what needs to be completed, offering any support to the more complex learner. I would then give the learners time to practice the task, this ensures that the learners are familiar with the prosses and gain a better understanding and knowledge it also helps me gain an understanding as to whether the learner is ready for the assessment. During this informal process we then discuss the criteria of the final assessment including time scales and what will be required form the learner. By discussing these points prior to the assessment often results in the learners feeling less stress which can make them more at ease and more likely to achieve the unit.5. Explain the importance of involving the learner and others in the assessment process, and summarise types of information that should be made available to learners and others involved in the assessment process. (4.1, 4.2) As an assessor we must communicate with all involved in the prosses, the learner, the employer and any others surrounding the process to explain the assessment so that everyone involved has a clear understanding of what is expected from them and when. This can include advice and guidance on how to provide the correct evidence whether its written evidence, practical evidence or photographic evidence and also the criteria that is needed to support and to achieve the qualification. The evidence required to meet the criteria can be supported by others in the form of witness testimonies so the learner and others can identify what is required to assist the assessor in selecting the correct evidence. This information needs to be available to the learner and all others involved and the standards and criteria can be found in in the student’s work file. The assessment methods used will authenticate the evidence to meet requirements and criteria set by the awarding body. Arrangements will be made, usually via a discussion, as to who will assess the learner, when the assessment will take place, and what will be assessed this intern gives a transparent prosses for the learner and any others involved. Feedback will be given in the most appropriate and convenient way for both assessor and learner. The learner will be informed of; the outcome of assessment, how the outcome will be communicated, and how records will be kept and stored. The records will be kept in a secure place in line with the Data Protection Act and company policy.6. Explain how peer and self- assessment can be used effectively to promote learner involvement and personal responsibility in the assessment of their learning. (4.3)Peer and self-assessment is a good way for the learner and their peers to prepare and understand the standards and criteria they need to be achieving. Peer assessment can encourage individuals to work together and participate in activities. The learners assess each other’s work and make their own judgement on the quality of the work. More often than not learners can accept constructive criticism better from peers than from an assessor. Peer assessment can also spark discussions allowing the learners to hear other people’s views and evaluations which in turn helps learners gain further knowledge and understanding. Providing the comments from peers are a positive contribution and in line with the formative assessment criteria can be very beneficial to a leaner. Learners may find self-assessment helps them to understand the prosses and usually are more critical of their own work than others this can help them achieve a good understanding, knowledge and quality of work. If the learner can identify their individual targets to work towards then this can make them more involved in the assessment process and encourage them to take more responsibility in their own further development.7. Evaluate the importance of quality assurance in the assessment process and summarise quality assurance and standardisation procedures relevant in own area of practice (6.1, 6.2)The importance of quality assurance is to make sure everything is working correctly and is sustained. This will then give every learner an equal opportunity to obtain the qualification under a fair and transparent process. A consistent internal verification (I.V) process is used to uphold reliability of the assessment procedure and the decisions of the assessor. As a result, the assessor’s decisions and the processes are fair to all learners as any mistakes made will be highlighted and addressed. When the learner has been assessed and has met all the criteria for the qualification unit, it then goes to the internal verifier to be checked before it is signed off. All assessors and IV’s attend standardisation meetings regularly this is to make sure accurate results are being achieved and recorded and the correct assessment is being completed. Standardisation meetings also make sure that the process is equal and fair to all learners. In the meetings changes to the units such as criteria and requirements by awarding bodies can be discussed to maintain quality assurance and standards required for the qualification. Assessments also need to be monitored by the external verifier (E.V) so they can check standards are being met from a non-biased perspective in turn ensures compliance with the regulations and standards.8. Summarise the relevant procedures to follow when there are disputes concerning assessment in own area of practice i.e. appeals procedure. (6.3)If a learner thinks that they have been unfairly assessed there is an appeals policy that has to be followed. Learners who appeal or complain should be able to do so without fear of recrimination and confidentiality should be maintained. The assessor should firstly attempt to reach an agreement between the learner and themselves at the earliest opportunity. If the outcome cannot be resolved then the learners have the right to appeal the decision. If this happens, the decision gets passed on to the internal verifier (I.V) to be resolved. If no resolution by the internal verifier can be made, it will then be passed to the centre manager, if the problem still cannot be resolved it gets passed to the external verifier of the awarding body to make a decision. When an appeal has been resolved the outcome can be used and put in to practice to prevent further appeals.