Planning and Enabling Learning

DTLLS- Unit 1-Assignment 1

What is the purpose of initial assessment and what kind of methods could be used? Evaluate these methods with reference to the ways they can help in the overall objective of achieving learning goals. How can you ensure learners are kept motivated and working towards these goals?

Initial Assessment is a reflective tool/process 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 teaching at the correct level and to ensure inclusion of all students learning needs.

Learner-centred initial assessment underpins personalised learning programmes when its findings are respected and used to develop effective, dynamic individual learning plans.
Effective initial assessment therefore:
    • assembles an overall picture of the learner, identifying the skills, attitudes and behaviours that they bring with them
    • recognises, acknowledges and records prior learning and experience
    • draws out what learners can do and does not just focus on what they can’t do
    • adopts creative, exciting and thoughtful approaches and activities, individually and in groups, to explore personal and social skills, as well as vocationally relevant, practical  skills
    • uses multi-modal, informal and formal assessment methods, including IT, practical tasks and observation
    • avoids ‘testing’ as a means of understanding prior ability
This initial assessment can take the form of questions and answers as part of icebreaker activities or individual/open group discussion of previous knowledge.   Alternatively individually completed quizzes or tests in the first week of teaching are a useful way to assess need and prepare students for the structure of on-going assessment over the course duration.   It is best practice to vary the initial assessment according to the learner, and in accordance with their...