The types of assessment a tutor could use in lifelong learning may include: initial, diagnostic, independent assessment, formative, summative, internal, external, formal and informal assessment methods. Tummons (2007) states “Assessment is a way to find out if learning has taken place. ” Gravells (2012), describes the assessment cycle in the following terms; “the initial assessment, assessment planning, assessment activity, assessment decision and feedback and finally, review of progress”. The cycle restarts at the initial assessment with the next subject or unit of the qualification.
To ensure that there is consistency and fairness throughout the assessment cycle, standards and practice of assessors must be agreed and be appropriate to the subject or course. The initial assessment could include an application form and interview for a place on a course. Tummons (2007) states, “this process of selection is in itself a form of initial diagnostic assessment that identifies the characteristics, competencies, skills or knowledge of the learner. ” Appropriate initial assessment activities can also give an indication of any special assessment requirements.
Initial assessments can be a useful tool in identifying if the learner has chosen the right course or programme of study. Initial assessments also ensure that the learner is not attempting a level above their current capabilities. Gravells (2012) states “Diagnostic tests can be used to ascertain information regarding Maths, English or ICT. They can also be used to help compile and individual learning plan (ILP) when planning assessments, it is also essential that the tutor follows the awarding bodies’ guidelines and that suitable types and methods of assessment are agreed with colleagues and learners.
Assessment planning should be inclusive to all and always be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Assessment that is formative occurs during a course, and provides feedback to students to help them improve their performance. Assessment that is summative may or may not include feedback. The main difference between this form of assessment and that which is purely formative is that, grades are awarded at the end. The grade will indicate performance against the standards set for the assessment task, and can either be part of in-course assessment, or assessment at the end of a course or module.