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Assessment and evaluation of learning

Assessing the career-related learning achieved by participants is important for any teacher, trainer or facilitator. Giving effective feedback to learners is an important outcome of assessment, and learning is improved with the effective use of feedback and assessment. A distinction is sometimes drawn between summative and formative assessment. Summative assessment occurs at the end of a course or learning intervention after the teaching has stopped (A level exams for example). Formative assessment occurs during the learning process and helps the learner to progress further with their learning.

The terms assessment and evaluation are often used interchangably which can make things a little confusing. It can be helpful to think about assessment as a dimension of evaluation i.e. evaluation must include assessment of learning but should also include other forms. For example, Praslova (below) identifies assessment of learning as learning criteria but is also interested in reaction criteria such as completion of feedback questionnaires or post-its.

Please consider the following questions:

  • When do you think you were taught something well?
  • What was the teacher doing?
  • What feedback did you receive?
  • Was there any 'formal' assessment?
  • What makes for good course evaluation?
  • What are the differences between assessment of learning and course evaluation?

Please now read the paper by Praslova (2010) on what she terms the four levels of evaluation criteria:
1/ Reaction Criteria
2/ Learning Criteria
3/ Behavioural/Transfer Criteria
4/ Results Criteria.
Once you have done, this consider how you would develop a strategy or method for measuring these four criteria in relation to your own C-RL programme. A good and recent example with a particular focus on the assessment of learning criteria is the employability module developed by the Association of Higher Education and Career Services (2014). A formative assessment grid is shown following each of the eight workshops.