Why do we assess? Petty describes assessment ‘in the right hands, assessment can inspire, motivate and provide the feedback which is essential for targeting prompt corrective help’ Petty G, (2001) When an assessment is given it’s purpose is to assess either the students understanding of the subject matter or their application of the knowledge they have acquired.
Rowntree further describes the framework of assessment under five headings or dimensions. Namely:
Why assess? Deciding why assessment is to be carried out; what effects or outcomes it is expected to produce.
What to assess? Deciding, realising or otherwise coming to an awareness of what one is ...view middle of the document...
The assignment included the grading criteria on the front of the assignment replicating that as supplied by the awarding body, so that the learner would know what is expected to be produced to achieve the required pass criteria.
The system used to design the assignment was the criteria referencing system, being the method employed and specified by the awarding body, Edexcel. This method is somewhat juxtaposed to a “normal” referencing system that the learners had been exposed to via compulsory education up till that point.
Reece and Walker describe normal referencing as ‘end examinations are traditionally marked so that the normal curve of distribution is achieved. This is termed norm-referencing due to it’s relationship with the curve of normal distribution.’ Reece I and Walker S,(1997) (App 1) They describe criteria referencing as ‘the introduction of specific criteria given in terms of objectives and competences which state in detailed terms what a student must achieve.’ Reece I and Walker S,(1997)
Both these forms of assessment have there places in different subject areas and they will no doubt be continued to be used in tandem to some degree. The consideration behind criteria-referenced based assessments for the National Diploma is that engineering, being a hierarchal subject, requires that the initial concepts are to be fully understood before the next level of knowledge is imparted. Subsequently criteria-referencing may be the best form of assessment for this subject area, providing building blocks to move to the next level.
The provided assessment is of course not the only form of assessment that takes place through the course of the year, it only represents the ‘formal aspect’ and the respective grades achieved are recorded; but ultimately these grades will be recorded on the student’s certificate.
During the delivery of the course there will be opportunities for many informal assessments to take place during the classes. These may take the form of worked examples that the lecturer delivers, giving the student ample opportunity to enquire about the concepts being introduced. This upon reflection may not be a particularly good methodology, as a student may not wish to ask questions in front of their peers, as they may possibly be perceived as unintelligent by doing so.
It is the duty of the lecturer to remind the class as a whole that ‘the only unintelligent question is the one that you don’t ask’. This form of assessment provides the deliverer with feed back from the students and indicates if the concepts may need further explanation, or indeed if they need to be provided in a different manner. It can also provide an indication if the content of the session has been provided in a way that is easily understood.
Another preferred method of informal assessment employed throughout the year are problem sheets, these are provided during sessions and provides the learner and the lecturer with an opportunity to...