What is the Assessment Cycle?
Before we look at Assessment Cycle, let's recap...
What is Assessment?
- Assessment is a way of finding out if learning has taken place
- It is a process of making a decision regarding your learner’s knowledge and/or performance against set criteria
- Assessment activities can be informal to check progress – known as formative assessment
- Activities can also be formal to confirm achievement – known as summative assessment
This can be easily looked at in the form of the assessment cycle, following the stages of the investment cycle will ensure that your assessment process is robust and compliant.
Let’s breakdown each stage and see how it applies to your assessments:
Ascertaining information regarding your learners: this could be any specific assessment requirements they may have or any further training and support that they may need. This information can be obtained in a range of ways, for example, application forms, interviews, diagnostic tests and discussions. This process might not always be carried out by you, but the information obtained must be passed on to you. The initial assessment is known as assessment for learning because it helps prepare learners for assessment and identifies their potential.
Agreeing with suitable types and methods of assessment with learners, setting appropriate target dates and involving others as necessary, such as colleagues, witnesses or workplace supervisors. A good assessment plan will ensure that all parties involved are well informed and prepared for the assessment.
Using relevant approaches and activities, for example, observation, questioning, assignments or gathering appropriate evidence of competence. Assessment can be formative (usually ongoing and informal to check progress e.g. a discussion) and/or summative (usually at the end and formal e.g. a test). Summative assessment is often known as assessment of learning because it counts towards the achievement of something.
Assessment decision and feedback
Making a judgement of success or otherwise or allocating a grade and advising how to achieve a higher grade in the future. Providing constructive and developmental feedback and agreeing upon any further action that may be necessary. Feedback should be a positive experience, which emphasises progress rather than failure to help motivate your learners and aid their confidence.
Review of progress
Reviewing progress and achievement and discussing any other issues that may be relevant to the learning and assessment process.
The cycle can then begin again with an initial assessment regarding the next area to be assessed. Records should be maintained throughout all aspects of the assessment cycle and quality assurance activities should take place on an ongoing basis.