When to Assess?
Pre course/beginning of the course
In some courses diagnostic assessment takes place either before the course begins or at the first session. This can serve a number of purposes:
- To help the tutor plan/modify the course so it is appropriate for the learners;
- To help decide whether the course is suitable for the learners’ needs and if necessary advise them of alternative routes;
- To encourage learners to identify their own needs and discover where they fit in relation to others on the course;
- To help tutors identify individual learning and thinking styles.
During the course – formative assessment
Assessment can be used during learning to give feedback, and support learner progress towards outcomes and to inform both the learner and tutor of any action that needs to take place.
Formative assessment will allow:
- tutors to establish what knowledge / skills a learner has acquired;
- tutors to plan the next steps;
- tutors to give appropriate feedback to a learner;
- tutors to encourage and motivate a learner;
- a learner to identify what has been learnt and what they need to learn.
e.g. a reflective portfolio / journal to record progress would be an example of a formative assessment.
Toward the end or at the end of a course – summative assessment
Summative assessment may take place towards the end of the learning programme or section of a learning programme. This type of assessment measures the extent of learning that has taken place at the end of the learning experience. It enables a judgement to be made about whether the learner has achieved all of the learning outcomes within a unit e.g. a completed portfolio of all the learner’s work or a single assessment of selected assessment criteria.