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Enabling Learning and Assessment

Two of the assessment activities that I use are Worksheets (or written questions) and photographic evidence. These assessment activities are the most commonly found within my level 1 group. Worksheets within my area are a very versatile way of collecting information from the student, they can contain short answer questions, multiple choice questions etc. Worksheets are extremely valid because they are usually created by the awarding body of that qualification or by the teachers who have read through what the learners need to achieve.
Because it is a direct way of assessing, the learners will not “go off task” as the worksheets are designed to be short, sharp ways of assessing that require the learner to answer two or three questions about a particular criteria. Ideally, the learner should be assessed on different occasions, and by different people on each criteria, so that this assessment becomes more reliable. Once the learner has answered these questions to show their understanding, and have had the criteria explained to them, they would have passed that one element within their criteria, therefore making it even more sufficient, fair and reliable.
Worksheets are very easy to differentiate depending on the level of learners/ course/ certain individuals. If you have someone in your class who is dyslexic then you can differentiate a worksheet into more picture based learning where possible and also if you have someone who excels in lessons you can differentiate the worksheets to enable more information from the learner. The fact that this can be done so easily makes it fair. A question of authenticity can be raised with worksheets because answers can be very easily duplicated within the classroom, however, it is up to the teacher to recognise that this is happening and stop it.

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In my experience of using worksheets I have found that it is a very accessible way of teaching because if you need to add a question onto a worksheet, you just simply add it through Microsoft word. The learners enjoy worksheets a lot more than essays or assignments because it only requires them to focus for short periods of time, which means that they are not, distracted halfway through and can put 100% effort into that worksheet.
Another positive for a worksheet is that it usually explains on it what the learner needs to do so the learner could arry on completing other worksheets if the rest of the class need more explanation for example. This could, however, be a bad thing in a higher level course as they may not include the correct amount of information within their writing, but for my level 1 course, and the worksheets that I create, I make sure that I have explained what the criteria is that the student needs to complete. For me, worksheets are one of the best ways of assessing students as they have many positives.
Photographic evidence is a way of capturing evidence through photographs as opposed to writing, this way of assessing is good because it shows that the student can do what the criteria is asking and the proof is the photograph, for example in one of my lessons a criteria is to take part in a team activity, using photographic evidence shows the student in the moment and participating. This therefore shows both validity and reliability because a photo can cover a range of criteria not just one.
However, there can be issues with photos reliability as it could easily be posed for, and would not be a genuine indication of the wok that is being completed. This work is very authentic because it cannot be used by anyone other than the student in the photo. This method is also very fair as there is little writing to be done on the photographic evidence sheet, the writing that the student needs to complete is just for added information that the student would like to add.
This makes this process much fairer to students that have dyslexia, or any other form of learning difficulty that might affect their written work. In my own practice of using photographic evidence I found that the students enjoy it a lot more because there is less work for them to do, however making sure that everyone has a photo of them completing the criteria can sometimes be a negative. The other bad point to photographic evidence is that you may find yourself having to complete the session again as people may have been away for that session and not got themselves a photo. This can hinder your scheme of work etc.
But I still feel that this is one of the best ways of gathering evidence, especially for the lower level groups as they not have the literacy levels to complete what the higher level groups will. Purpose of assessment For this part of the assignment I am going to describe and analyse summative assessment. Summative assessment can be described as: “…what students tend to focus on. It is the assessment, usually on completion of a course or module, which says whether or not you have “passed”.
It is—or should be—undertaken with reference to all the objectives or outcomes of the course, and is usually fairly formal. (www. learningandteaching. info, 2010) Taking this approach makes the assessment very clear to the student, and not only confirms their overall mark, but also high lights what they have done well, and what they need to improve on; “Summative assessment is the process of evaluating (and grading) the learning of students at a point in time. ” (www. qualityresearchinternational. com, 2010) Summative assessment also helps the assessor confirm that the student has an understanding of the topic, and has built upon their knowledge, as Wilson (2009) agrees; “Summative assessment is usually associated with tests and exams.
It aids the assessment of learning and is quite formal. In summative assessment styles, a learner progresses through their qualification until the time comes that learning is complete and they are tested on their knowledge”. From my research I have found out that in most cases summative assessment is a test or exam at the end of a course to determine whether you have passed or failed what you have been studying. If you were to fail you would have to re-sit the exam or test. Students would normally get a period to revise for these tests to ensure that they pass.
This is most definitely valid because it would be the awarding body that sets the exams. This form of summative assessment is also an extremely authentic and efficient way of assessing, as the room would be set up in exam conditions, with separate desks, no mobile phones or speaking so it’s guaranteed to be the individuals own work. There are some questions on the fairness of this though as everyone would get the same set of questions, written and presented in the same way without any kind of differentiation, so this may be unfair to those, for example, that struggle with reading, and is therefore putting that student at a disadvantage.
However, those with learning difficulties who would have the greatest struggle with this form of assessment, often have Exam Access Arrangements, granting them with special permissions such as extra time, rest breaks, or a scribe. Also with regards to preparing, some students may have a computer at home that may help them to gain a greater advantage than those without this technology. Some people from other cultures may have some other things that are more important to them at home, for example, praying.
Some of these people may also not speak English and that disadvantages them straight away. “Assessment is a socially embedded activity which can only be understood by taking account of the cultural, economic and political contexts within which it operates” (Stobart, 2005) Within my area however, it is not a pass or fail exam which is the summative assessment. The summative assessment in my area is completed in a much smaller scale throughout the year in the form of portfolio evidence.
The course that I teach is a yearlong course for level 1 students wanting to be in the public services (police, royal marines etc). The entire course consists of 7 units which range from map reading to team building and physical fitness. The evidence that we use in these portfolios is also varied including witness statements, photographic evidence and short answer questions on worksheets. Due to the varied methods of evidence collection it is difficult to individualise each one for validity and reliability etc.
But generally because there is that varied style the students always look forward to the theory side of the sessions. As I make the worksheets for this course, I know that they are reliable, valid, fair and current because I have differentiated almost all of them for higher level learners and lower level. I know what the awarding body is looking for in terms of work so have structured the worksheets around that. My only concern for this type of assessment is authenticity, as it would be easy to replicate a friend’s answer without understanding it yourself.
We summative assess like this because it is an NCFE qualification that is determined and assessed on a completed portfolio of evidence rather than an exam at the end of the year. This is useful for us as teachers, and a less stressful experience for our learners, because if a learner does not understand then we can explain it in different ways until they do, so they keep getting to try and try again, rather than try once and they’ve passed or failed. This also helps us target their areas of concern, and we can therefore plan accordingly.
Reflection The biggest single source of feedback is from the learner themselves: from their internalised judgements” (www. psy-gla. ac. uk, 2010) The above comment is very true in the case of one of my students, he was his biggest critic, he was home schooled and really didn’t like the idea of education as a whole never mind being told what to do, this same student also has been diagnosed with aspergers and ADHD. The first day he came into college he was on extension studies and I was his support worker at the time. Trying to get him to do any work was near to impossible.
He had a real problem with authority and lacked the confidence to ask for help from either myself or the teacher. During my time with this student I soon realised that he would use conversation as a way of distracting himself from learning. I adopted a strategy that allowed him to talk and get his work done at the same time, this was after I had a 1:1 with him and discussed to him that he was only making his college life difficult for himself and he would get much more done if he listened to the staff and then, once his work is complete, he can talk to me about other things.
I then moved to the sports and public services department, to find that this particular student had in filled to one of my lessons that I would be teaching. Without a support worker I thought that this student would struggle with the content within the class as he wasn’t used to working without a supportive voice, giving him feedback where it counted. I kept him behind the first session and asked how I could improve to help his learning, and he gave me some ideas which I used the next session, such as short hands on activities to break up the sessions, and his general behaviour and attitude flourished.
I also had a system in place that we set up together, if he was struggling with a piece of work he would put his pen down and fold his arms, which gave me the signal to come over and assist him. A year after that, this student enrolled on the course that he was infilling last year (where he is now). And with regular tutorials and setting up of SMART targets for him, for example “show up to lessons with the correct equipment on time and if you are going to be late phone up in advance and let us know”, he is one of the high achievers in the class and will be moving on next year to a level 2 course.
So had it not been for feedback with this individual I don’t feel that he would have made it within the education system but due to good sources of feedback around the college he is now achieving a lot higher than he would have hoped and that I would have expected when he first came to college. (ecologyofeducation. net) Feedback has helped me develop as a teacher in many ways, the first micro each of the PTLLS course gave me great confidence and enthusiasm towards being a teacher as my general peer and tutor feedback was extremely positive and not much went wrong. I have also had some constructive feedback throughout my observations from both Barbara Roche, Rob Gray and the students in my class that have given me some great ideas for the future, such as keeping motivation high by switching tasks quickly so that people do not find the lesson boring. Keeping tasks into bite size pieces to not confuse the learner.
I have received feedback from my manager on my lessons after an observation and the feedback was to be more academic within the classroom and try to understand the difference between being too friendly towards students and not achieving the respect that a teacher needs. Due to this feedback I made sure that I was still friendly towards the students but not too friendly and within a few weeks I had the respect and rapport that I expected. Feedback has helped me reflect more as it’s a great tool to use, I give positive feedback to myself and, as long as I’m honest, constructive feedback too.
As seen above reflection enters Kolbs feedback cycle just after the concrete experience and just before the abstract conceptualisation, where one would discover what learning actually took place. Overall, without feedback there would be no active learning, students wouldn’t know how well they had done, teachers wouldn’t know if they are doing their job correctly. You understand and gain confidence or know where to improve because of the feedback you get, whether this is in a one to one basis with a manager or work colleague, or in a classroom full of students.

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