The function of assessment in Learning and Development

Assessment can take part at different stages in Learning and Development and can sometimes be overlooked.  In this article, we’ll take a look at why we should be assessing our candidates and students, what benefits there are to assessment and some of the key principles of assessment.

Why assess?

If you have just delivered a training session and you don’t assess, how can you be sure that any learning has taken place?  Or if you are trying to work out a person’s level of skill in a particular area, how would you know whether their skill level is poor, moderate or exceptional without assessment?  There are loads of reasons to assess such as:

Determining level of knowledge & understanding
Ensuring that learning is taking place
Checking progress
Adhering to course criteria
Providing a summary to learning
It also never hurts if candidates and students know they are being assessed; it’s likely to increase their attention span and encourage them to ask about topics they’re not sure of if they know that they will have to prove they have understood.

For the person doing the assessing, assessment means they can be confident that the student or candidate has the required level of knowledge on a particular topic or competency for a certain task.  For the student or candidate, assessment usually means reassurance of their own level of knowledge / competency and usually a certificate!


How do we assess?

The first part of the assessment process is to sit down with the candidate and create a plan for their assessment.  The assessor has the responsibility of inducting the candidate onto the course and explaining:

How they will be assessed?
What is going to be assessed?
Where they will be assessed?
When they will be assessed?
Depending on the course the assessor may help the candidate choose particular units that they are to be assessed on.

The next step is to start performing the...