Educational assessment is the process of
documenting, usually in measurable terms,
knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs.
Assessment can focus on the individual
learner, the learning community (class,
workshop, or other organized group of
learners), the institution, or the educational
system as a whole.
Make a few notes on why you think we assess
learners before going on to the next slide.
Earlier in the course we talked about the ‘learning
journey’. Assessment helps us to answer the third
question of this journey – ‘How will we know when we
have arrived?’
This ‘arrival’ may be in terms of moving on to another
topic, finishing a unit or completing a whole course.
Assessment not only tells us whether or not our
learners have actually learnt what we were trying to
teach them (assessment of learning) but also helps us to
identify any areas where they may need further support
to complete this learning (assessment for learning).
Assessment should be an on-going process. Most
tutors are continually checking learning throughout
their teaching.
In additon to this, spend a few moments trying to
think if there are any specific times when you
assess your learners.
Initial assessment – normally carried out before
the course starts or at the first session to gauge
the learners’ existing levels of
knowledge/expertise. Most curriculum areas now
also include an initial assessment in Functional
Skills to help identify any areas where learners
might need additional support.
You will need to know how & when this is carried
out in your organisation for the assignment
This may not be familiar to everyone but, if you are
teaching in an area such as Functional Skills or
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
this type of assessment is important to target
specific topics/areas that your learners need to
improve e.g. it’s not enough just to know that a
learner needs to improve their spelling, you will
need to know which particular aspects such as
plurals, double consonants etc. etc.
This is the on-going, day to day, assessment
that all tutors carry out in their classes to
check that learning is taking place and
whether learners are ready to move on.
This type of assessment may be formal or
informal but more on that later.
This type of assessment usually comes at the
end of a topic, unit or course.
It ‘sums up’ everything the learner knows and
may result in formal certification or allow the
learner to progress to the next module of the
Often this type of assessment is more formal
and most exams are summative assessments.
Learning Plan
within course
Progression to
For all the types of assessment we have
considered there is a range of possible
different methods to use to carry out the
Spend a few minutes now noting down all the
assessment methods you can think of (not just
those that you use in your subject/curriculum area)
Obviously, the list here is potentially huge but you
might have included:
practical activities observations
role play
self assessment
peer assessment performance
Working with your own list, add any
assessment methods from the list on the
previous slide that you had missed and any
more that you have now thought of having
seen the list.
Using two different coloured
pens/highlighters, now highlight those
assessment methods on your list that you
think are ‘formal’ and ‘informal’
This task isn’t as easy as many people think it
is going to be!
What you have probably found out is that
there is no clear distinction here – many
methods of assessment can be either formal
or informal depending on how they are
structured and presented to the learners.
Once we have assessed our learners what do we
then do with the information?
Once we have considered the results of an
assessment activity, we then need to provide our
learners with feedback - how they are doing &
suggestions for how they can further improve.
Feedback may be either oral or written but
should always be constructive, helping learners
to acknowledge and celebrate what they have
achieved whilst identifying areas for further
improvement and progression.
One of the most common models for
providing feedback to learners is to use the
‘feedback sandwich’
Start with
something positive
Identify area
for improvement
Close with
something positive
The thinking behind this model is fairly straightforward:
There are always some positive aspects we can identify and it is
important to acknowledge learners’ achievements to date
If we start the feedback with something negative, the learner will
not hear anything we later say that is positive
If we end the feedback with something negative, the learner will
only remember that.
However, there are a number of issues with this
model. See if you can identify any before you move
on to the next slide.
Although feedback sandwiches are useful,
there are a number of issues with this model.
Three of the main ones are:
There is a danger of feedback becoming formulaic
Learners quickly recognise the model and only
listen to the ‘filling’ regarding anything else as
There is a danger of identifying too many areas for
improvement and overwhelming the learner
A different model for providing feedback,
‘Medals & Missions’ devised by Geoff Petty, is
now becoming widely accepted
In this model, the tutor first provides the
learner with ‘medals’ so acknowledging &
celebrating what they have achieved so far
The ‘missions’ are then identified as clear
areas for improvement and strategies/action
plans for how this will be undertaken.
You can find out more about this model in Petty, G. ( 2002)
Teaching Today, p65-72 or at http://www.geoffpetty.com/
Before moving on to the next slide think
about the assessment records you keep.
Do you keep electronic records? Tracking
sheets? Individual tracking or whole group?
Why do you keep these records?
There is a wide range of methods for keeping assessment
records and many reasons for doing this. They include:
Assessment records allow us to keep track of how our learners
are progressing through the course and help us to identify any
‘problem’ areas. For example, if you could see that all your learners had
struggled with a particular assignment, you would need to reflect on why and
perhaps spend more time on it on the next run of the course or re-think the way
you were teaching the topic
Tracking of assessment may also be a requirement of your
awarding body and your external verifier may need to see these
Your organisation may use this information to keep track of
successes across the college or to pinpoint any areas for
improvement. This information is often utilised for the annual
Self Assessment report (SAR). If you are not familiar with this
term, you might want to ask your line manager to explain
Using the information from this PowerPoint, and
your own notes, you should now be able to
complete Theory Assignment 7
State the different assessment methods available
and explain the ones you would use for your
subject area, including reference to initial
assessment. State the types of assessment records
you would complete and why.
Word count: 300-500
The assignment asks for a statement of different assessment
methods. This is your opportunity to show how much you know
so don’t limit this first paragraph to the methods you use in your
own area – show that you are aware of the wide range of
methods available.
Now you should move on to discuss the assessment methods
you use in your particular area explaining why they are used e.g.
required by examining body, meeting the needs of different learning styles.
Remember you will need to explain the initial assessment
procedure in your area.
Your comments on assessment records will be different
depending on the organisation you work for. Some organisations keep these
electronically, some have paper-based tracking sheets; some spreadsheets. You may have to
do some research here to find out what your organisation uses &
In this assignment it is important that you
demonstrate that you can correctly use the
following terms:
Initial assessment
Formative assessment/assessment for learning
Summative assessment/assessment of learning
Given the word limit, it is unlikely that you will have
space to discuss feedback in any detail & the
assignment does not require this.
If anything in the PowerPoint is not clear or you
would like to discuss any of the points further
before working on your assignment, please feel
free to contact me:
Barbara Hately-Broad
(Please note that I am not available on Mondays or Fridays)