Definition of Assessment
The Service has adopted the following definition of assessment:
‘Assessment describes any process which appraises an individual’s knowledge understanding, abilities or skills’. This includes any process which:
- promotes learners learning by providing them with feedback, normally to help improve their performance
- evaluates a learners knowledge, understanding, abilities or skills
- provides a mark or grade that enables a learner’s performance to be assessed
- enables others (including Oftsed), to know that an individual has attained an appropriate level of achievement that reflects the requirements specified by an awarding body.
Types of Assessment
The Service recognises the following types of assessment:
Initial assessment – provides an initial indicator of a learners level of learning and specifically English, and if required maths and IT. The Services approach to this is BKSB which provides a printable record of a learners ‘general working level’ and what level diagnostic assessment they should attempt.
Diagnostic assessment – which is used to show a learner’s preparedness for a module or programme and identifies, for the learner and the tutor, any strengths and potential gaps in knowledge, understanding and skills expected at the start of the programme, or other possible problems. Particular strengths may lead to a formal consideration of accreditation of prior learning.
Formative assessment – which has a developmental purpose and is designed to help learners learn more effectively by giving them feedback on their performance and on how their performance can be improved and/or maintained. Reflective practice by Learners sometimes contributes to formative assessment
The recognised method of reviewing learner’s work, during the formative phase, with the intention of providing feedback is by ‘surface marking’ and where necessary written feedback. It is important that tutors follow a standardised model and in doing so avoid creating confusion for learners on corrective actions but rather supporting their ability to be self-correcting. (appendix 3 and 4)
Summative assessment – which is used to indicate the extent of a learner’s success in meeting the assessment criteria used to gauge the intended learning outcomes of their programme.
The service has adopted the exam marking scheme for written work.
The Service recognises that any individual piece of assessment can fulfil one or more of these functions.
The Service has agreed the following principles for the assessment of Learners.
The Service will:
- support its staff in understanding policy and practice in regard to assessment
- ensure that all assessments are fair and unaffected by gender, ethnicity, age or any other personal characteristics of the learners
- provide clear assessment criteria and other information about assessment requirements to learners
- ensure that assessment strategies are designed to ensure that the assessment is appropriate to the credit value for a unit of learning or full award
- ensure that assessment strategies are formally approved for all programmes of learning both initially and following any subsequent revisions. Strategies will be kept under review to ensure currency and all assessment strategies are validated by the Service
- educate learners about their responsibilities with respect to the assessment process and facilitating understanding of assessment requirements
- provide learners with clear information in regard to assessment, including information on:
- the types of assessments
- the timing of those assessments
- the criteria that will be used to mark each summative assessment
- the way in which marks are checked and agreed
- how they will receive feedback and by when
- the mechanisms available for raising queries about the accuracy of the marks provided
- Provide learners with information about the process by which:
- the accuracy of the assessments is checked
- the consistency of the assessment judgements made by tutors is made e.g. through verification and standardisation exercises
- transparency in the assessment process e.g. recording assessments such as presentations or performances is carried out
- moderate and agree assessment judgements where there are significant differences between tutors/assessors
- ensure that all assessments are marked in a transparent manner against the criteria or marking scheme issued by awarding body’s. Where double marking is employed, a clear audit trail will be provided for external examiners/moderators
- provide feedback which is timely (which is considered to be within 4 working weeks of work being submitted)
Learners who successfully pass the assessment for an award will have achieved the learning outcomes for the course, demonstrating at least a minimum threshold level of knowledge and skill
review policies and regulations related to assessment on a regular basis.
Learners’ obligations in regard to assessment
The Service has agreed the following learners’ obligations in regard to assessment
Learners must ensure:
- assessments are submitted by agreed deadlines and follow guidelines on conventions and maintain good conduct in relation to assessment practice
- ensure that they conduct themselves with honesty and integrity in all assessment activities
- must participate in receiving formal and informal assessment feedback
- that work produced for assessment is legible unless alternative assessment arrangements have been agreed in advance.
Initial and diagnostic assessment
The service provides a number of mechanisms to support as far as is possible accurate assessment of a learners needs when they enter learning. It is generally accepted that a number of factors can and will influence the outcomes of assessments including preparedness of the learner, medical conditions, stress etc. It is therefore important that staff undertaking initial and diagnostic assessments take account of a wider range of factors one of which is the result of their BKSB assessments.
It has been agreed as a matter of policy that a rule of thumb can be helpful in determining the starting level of a learner. It is therefore proposed future assessments will be managed as follows:
The Service uses BKSB as its primary assessment tool for learners entering learning. It is generally accepted that initial assessments provides an indicator of level but is not in itself sufficiently detailed to determine with a greater degree of accuracy the best starting point for learners. All learners are also required to complete a ‘free writing’ exercise during the initial assessment phase and again BKSB is used to record this.
Initial assessment informs a decision as to what level of diagnostic assessment a learner needs to do. Although not always the case it is not uncommon for learners to present different results having completed their diagnostic assessment.
Provides a detailed breakdown of areas of strength and those that require development. BKSB provides identifies resources and activities for learners to use to support them however this is to be used as a supplementary approach to supporting them.
Guidance and model marking scheme
The following mark scheme is from City and Guilds sample papers and is helpful in guiding learners on where marks are gained and lost.
All practise papers and work that is designed to test how learners are developing their understanding and application are to be marked based on this model.
The notation should also follow a standardised approach which is detailed below. It is important that tutors apply the notation consistently and with regard to recognised methodology for marking learners work e.g. if the task relates to punctuation the focus of the marking is on this with feedback to support corrective actions.
Standardised marking notation for learners work