Planning and Enabling Learning

According to Kellough and Kellough, "Teaching and learning are reciprocal processes that depend on and affect one another. Thus, the assessment component deals with how well the students are learning and how well the teacher is teaching" (Kellough et al, 1999).   Assessment is acknowledged as a key driver for student learning and as tutors and students spend a great deal of their time dealing with assessment, it is important to reflect on its place and purpose in education.   Brown states that assessment is probably the most important thing we can do to help our students learn. We may not like it, but students can and do ignore our teaching (Brown & Smith, 1997).   In addition, assessment is important because students cannot avoid it, as Boud (1995) stated “Students can, with difficulty, escape from the effects of poor teaching, they cannot escape the effects of poor assessment”. Students can be assessed by their tutors, placement or professional mentors, their peers or by themselves but as Ramsden (1992) says, it will be rare to find one assessment method which will satisfy the assessment of all the intended learning outcomes for a course, so it will be necessary to consider a range of assessment methods for our students.  
As it suggests, assessment when used early or initially in a course can help identify learning needs.   It can aid planning.   Ausubel (1968) asserts that, “The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows.   Ascertain this and teach him accordingly”. Assessment if used properly can make students feel they belong to the learning culture, reduce students’ anxiety, provide the necessary information for the careful planning of learning of activities need and to determine individual learning need.
Assessment is a tool designed to check understanding and development within any subject area.   It is essential to begin a course with an assessment of students’ prior learning in order for the teacher to pitch their...