Analyze the Purpose of an Assessment

Topics: Assessment, Educational psychology, Summative assessment Pages: 8 (2704 words) Published: April 22, 2014

Written Assignment

Analyse the purpose of assessment:
Assessment is the process of collecting and evaluating achievement. It should always test the learner, but be clearly understood by the learner too. (Tummons 2007,p.5) states that Assessment ensures that we can motivate and encourage learners as well as diagnosing their learning needs. Also it allows us to evaluate learning progress as well as allowing the process of selection to take place. “The primary purpose of assessment is it improve students’ learning and teachers’ teaching… What makes assessment for learning effective is how well the information is used.” (Ministry of Education 2014) Another quote that I found summed up the purpose of assessment perfectly was; “…assessment has three purposes. Firstly, assessment is designed to support and thus enhance learning. Secondly, it provides certification for progress or transfer, and thirdly it is a form of accountability (quality assurance) to stakeholders.” (Chris Rust 2005) this suggest that the purpose of assessment is to simply support and enhance the learners learning by clearly highlighting to the learners their progression with the subject/course so far and what they need to do next for them to be able to fully understand the subject and pass successfully. There are 5 main assessment methods; informal, formal, formative, summative and ipsative. Formative assessment “…provides feedback which leads to students recognising the learning gap and closing it” (Harlen 1998) Formative assessment is repeated regularly and is carried out at the same time of the lesson being taught, this is because it is used to check the progress of the learners and the most reliable and natural environment and situation to assess this would be in the classroom. Also by carrying the assessment out while the lesson is being taught, it allows so the teacher can be assessed too, to ensure their teaching strategies are correct for the students. Summative assessment is always carried out towards the end of a course or lesson as it is used to ensure the learner has achieved the skills and knowledge that was set at the beginning of the course or lesson. Also summative assessment “…involves only marking and feedback grades to a student” (Black and William 1999). Formal assessment is an assessment that you won’t have any control over as it will be determined by an awarding body for the course or subject. It will be an exam or essay that the students will have to complete under test conditions (no communication, seated apart, silence, etc). Informal assessment is when you observe the students as they learn and take notes and record their progress. You then evaluate each student with the data you have gathered. “Informal assessments are not data driven but rather content and performance driven.” (Brenda Weaver 2014) Ipsative assessment measures how well a current task has been completed against how well they did on their best work, most recent work or their average work. It is based on measuring how much progression the student has made since their previous performance. With ipsative assessment, the student’s progress or work won’t be compared to other students work, and their performance won’t be related to any external criteria either. An important part of assessment is making sure it is valid and reliable. This will then ensure that the assessment is measuring what it is set out to, and also that it is consistently measuring correctly. (Gravells, 2010) For an assessor to correctly and fairly assess someone, they evaluate the learner’s evidence against the national standards to ensure it is; V alid – Method of assessment is suitable for testing the skill needed. A uthentic – Checked on the system to ensure it is the learners own work and isn’t just copy and pasted or a copy of another learner’s work. S ufficient – Shows that the learner is capable of a number of skills (all skills needed to pass). C urrent – That the piece of work is up to...

References: Gravells, A (2008) Preparing to teach in the LLS
Ministry of Education (2014) Purpose of Assessment [Online] Available at: Accessed on 20/03/14
Rust. C (2005) Developing a variety of assessment methods page 150 Mansfield: Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
Sellors. A (2014) Different forms of formative assessment in lesson plans [Online] Available at: Accessed on 19/03/14
Tummons. J (2007) Becoming a professional tutor in the lifelong learning sector Chapter 3 UK: Learning Matters Ltd
The University of Texas at Austin (2013) Methods of Assessment [Online] Available at: Accessed on 19/03/14
University of Exeter (2005) Principles of Assessment [Online] Available at: Accessed on 22/03/14
Willis. J (2007) The Neuroscience of Joyful Education Volume 64 UK: Educational Leadership
Weaver. B (2014) Formal vs. Informal Assessments [Online] Available at: Accessed on 20/03/14
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