The assessment cycle

The assessment cycle is the on-going process of assessment. Each stage involves initial assessment, assessment planning, assessment activity, assessment decision, feedback and progress review. Initial assessment will take place to gather sufficient information about the learner’s current level of competence. This will establish a starting point so that the learner can see how much he or she will achieve during the course. It will enable the tutor to effectively plan to meet the individual learner’s needs and will help to review the learners progress and achievements as well as determine future learning needs and preferred ways of learning. Assessment planning is making decisions on what outcomes of learning should be, what methods and resources will be used, how the learning and assessment will take place and in the appropriate time scale. You should ensure that the planned evidence collection and assessment opportunities cover the national standard.

All training and assessment must be appropriate for the needs of each learner. When the learning programme or assessment process is put into practise, it is considered the assessment activity. The results of learning are assessed, formatively and summatively. Performance evidence is gathered. This could be products of the learners work like documents produced as part of an activity or a test. It could also be practical evidence with the learner demonstrating competence. Assessment decision and feedback should always be given to learners regarding their performance. The feedback should include whether the evidence provided meets the national standard. It is important that the learner agrees with the assessment decision. The assessment should meet the specific outcomes and criteria identified in the assessment planning and should be at the appropriate level for the qualification.

All evidence must be judged as valid, authentic, consistent and sufficient. A review of progress will keep learners up to date on how they are doing on the course. It is a constructive process that gives participants the opportunity to identify achievements and discuss problems and potential issues. The review process also provides an opportunity to set realistic milestones for the remainder of candidature, to ensure completion within the permitted timeframe.

Initial assessment is assessing the learner’s current level of competence.

This will establish a baseline so that the learner can see progress. It also offers the tutor the opportunity to plan to the learner’s ability, needs and learning style. Assessment planning takes forward the initial assessment and utilises information gathered to design an appropriate course of learning. This will be appropriate for national standards and set to a level that the learner can take advantage of. Assessment activity is when the learning programme is put into practise. Results of the learning are assessed and evidence is gathered. This will be a mixture of documentation and practical evidence demonstrating competency.

Assessment decision is the stage to which the feedback and assessment decision is given. There, the learner will be informed whether evidence meets the national standards and carefully explained so that the learner understands the decision. This will follow the process initially planned. Progress reviews take place in several inspection contexts. Essentially they are a point in time when all parties involved in training take a step back and look at the progress being made by a learner towards completing their individual learning plan. They also involve setting targets to further complete the plan.

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