July 6, 2013

Good practice in the assessment process: 5 important tips to follow

Whether you assess students in a classroom or workshop or colleagues in a workplace you may benefit from the following tips which can help you ensure good practice in the assessment process:

Tip 1 – Good preparation

It is crucial that you have a clear and reliable assessment plan. Remember to provide transparent information (TRANSPARENCY!) to your students about assessment strategy. Ensure that all required resources are available on the day and that the environment in which you will carry out the assessment suits the purposes of the task. Being well prepared beforehand will increase your confidence and will help you run the assessment in a smooth and well organised manner. Failure to do so can be costly in terms of time and be stressful for you and your student.

Tip 2 – Do not over assess students

The aim of assessment is to find out whether students/ candidates have enough knowledge or skills to progress further or to operate effectively in their workplace. In order to avoid over assessing candidates we need to ensure that we assess them at the appropriate level and the standards are not set too high. A good quality assurance system will help you plan and carry out assessments within the right level and standard.

Tip 3 – Be supportive

Assessment can be a very stressful experience for some of your students or candidates. You should try to reduce nervousness and apprehension by creating a safe and supportive assessment environment. Ensure that students are comfortable in the classroom, there is enough space and appropriate distance between desks (exam conditions) and the lighting is good. Give clear instructions and take into account students` special needs like dyslexia by providing extra time if possible. Make it clear that equality and diversity are promoted and support is available, however, do not do it at the expense of validity of the assessment. Treat all candidates fairly (FAIRNESS!) without favouring anyone.

Tip 4 – Constructive feedback

One of your roles as an assessor is to provide students/candidates with feedback. It is extremely important that you remain objective (OBJECTIVITY!) and unbiased in your feedback. Feedback should be constructive and consist of positive and negative comments. Try to deliver it promptly after assessment and remember that it should be a two way process. Involve your students, ask them questions and discuss with them actions for improvement. Be professional at all times, however, bear in mind that when you smile you make it easier for your students to accept your feedback even if it is not entirely positive.

Tip 5 – Keep records of any assessment

The assessment process does not finish with candidates leaving the classroom. You still need to complete records of assessment and ensure that they are stored in a safe and secure place. It is vital that you keep records of assessment as they can be used to justify your assessment decision and to prove that it was based on authentic, sufficient and current evidence.

I hope these tips help you make the assessment process more effective and enjoyable for yourselves and your candidates.

Paulina Pilch (educator, teacher trainer and assessor)

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