Assessment Strategies In Teaching Practice Essay

1798 words - 8 pages

An assessment is to judge or decide the quantity, value, or importance of something (Cambridge Dictionaries online 2010). When applied to teaching, assessment is a process of finding out if learning has taken place in order for learners to progress and/or gain a qualification (Gravells 2008). The purpose of this assignment is to explore the use of formal and informal assessment strategies in teaching practice. A range of theories linked to formal and informal assessment will be discussed with reflection on my practice. My current practice involves carrying out both formal and informal assessment of student nurses during placement in the Emergency Department. The significance of validity and ...view middle of the document...

Norcini (2003) favours work-based assessment as it gives a better reflection of a person’s everyday performance than assessments done under test conditions.

Informal assessment is defined by Atherton (2009) as a continuous process of assessment and evaluation. This type of assessment is often referred to as formative assessment. Black and William (1998) suggest assessment is formative when the feedback from learning activities is used to adapt the teaching to meet the needs of the learner. Therefore feedback plays an important part in formative assessment as it allows the student and the tutor to evaluate learning and identify areas requiring work or improvement. Race and Pickford (2007) state that by giving learners early feedback on their progress they are more likely to stay motivated to the course or module. In practice however I find it difficult to give students feedback on their progress at an early stage in their placement although it is possible to give feedback on individual tasks. This is because a student’s learning needs are not clear until a few weeks into the placement when you have got to know them and observed their clinical practice.

Biggs designed a model to classify the complexity of learning outcomes which allows tutors to assess the quality of the learner’s work. This is known as Solo Taxonomy and begins with students picking up some aspects of knowledge and eventually developing this knowledge to apply and analyse it (Biggs 2008)

A formal assessment is usually a written document such as a test, quiz, or paper and is given a score or grade based on student performance (Valencia 1997). A summative assessment is a formal assessment which typically takes place at the end of a course or module. Summative assessment usually leads to a pass or fail situation (Gravells 2008). Formative assessments can be used to build up to a formal assessment when learning outcomes have to be met. Race and Pickford (2007) suggest that students are more likely to work hard if they know that what they are being taught is directly related to their formal assessment. I would have to disagree with this in practice as the majority of my students are more enthusiastic about the extra skills they learn specific to the placement and not the skills they need to learn for their formal assessments.

Formal assessments can be further broken down into norm-referenced tests and criterion-referenced tests. Norm-referencing is graded assessment which compares learners’ achievement against one another (Atherton 2009). Armitage et al (1999) present an argument against the use of norm-referencing; it shows nothing of value about an individual’s learning achievement therefore it is favoured by criterion-referencing. Criterion-referencing is assessment against a fixed standard or criterion rather than against other individuals (Atherton 2009). The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA, 2010) agree that being compared to those who are more...

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