For this post, the Formative assessment refers to the training stage sandwiched between Diagnostic assessment and Summative assessment. The stage of training where learners generally practise the foundation skills used to perform the workplace task.
Type of foundation skills assessment
|Pre-training, or start of training||Diagnostic assessment: check for learners’ existing foundation skills|
||Formative assessment: check learners’ progress with learning how to perform the foundation skills embedded in the workplace task. Assessment for learning.|
|Completion of training||Summative assessment: assess competency to perform the foundation skills embedded within the workplace task. Assessment of learning.|
The benefits of formative assessment to Build learners’ foundation
A typical training program follows the pattern:
- instructions about the workplace task (and the underpinning foundation skills)
- activities to practise the foundation skills required to perform the workplace task
- assess the learners’ competency to perform the workplace task with the embedded foundation skills
For learners who commence with enough workplace and foundation skills knowledge, this process may be sufficient.
But, if you have learners who:
- are new to the workplace skill, or embedded foundation skill (Novice performer)
- have some prior experience with the skills, but are unsure (Advanced Beginner)
- may need some skill revision, or a prompt to perform independently (Capable performer)
……… then, how will you know the instruction is sufficient to enable the learners to perform independently and confidently at the time of final assessment.
For both trainers and learners it is valuable to find out as soon as possible, if learners need:
- re-direction with ‘how-to’
- revisiting strategies or resources
- alternative strategies or approaches
- alternative resources or support
……………to build foundation skills.
- can easily go off-track
- may need to ‘un-do’ or re-learn a strategy, concept, or understanding
- will benefit from confirmation of their approach
- seek timely feedback
- enables trainers to check the strength of instruction (‘how to’ …) and support strategies
- enables the learners’ to become active participants in the learning process.
Think about ………….the implications of assuming learners are developing the necessary foundation skills, and don’t check?
We recommend an active and planned approach: Make formative assessment a priority…………..
1 implement an Assess to Learn approach
Develop a feedback-driven learning environment where you are tuned-in to the foundation skills progress made by the learners and use this to influence the guidance and the instruction you provide, or the delivery plan overall.
- Assesses learners’ needs – what are the learners’ skills, what do they need to learn ‘how to do’ now?
- Select the strategies and approaches to develop the learners’ foundation skills
- Evaluate – through formative assessment – the effectiveness: check progress, understanding, confidence to perform the task independently What progress have learners made?
Think about …….. how might formative assessment influence your instruction approaches to build foundation skills?
2 Where possible, stretch the Practice phase out
‘Dip-into’ learners’ foundation skills progress during the ‘practice’ stage of delivery. Build into the practice stage frequent opportunities to capture what learners CAN do, and the challenges they face. Be open to their reflective comments.
The benefits of collaborative activity
“Beware of the lonely learner: they are at risk of making less progress”
Denise Meyerson 2016 , Emerging Trends in Learning ACPET webinar
For learners: Working with others or responding to the thoughts and ideas of others helps to shape the learning and provides an ‘informal’ formative assessment.
For trainers: Providing feedback to a group is effective and impacts all learns involved – it may also be less time -consuming.
Think about ………when are the timely opportunities to check in with learners as they practise the foundation skills independently, or with others?
3 Tune-in to learner’s skill development, some suggested etools
Some etools to assist formative assessment:
|Other approaches: 53 Ways to check for understanding|
4 make the check in worthwhile for you and the learner
The type of feedback can make the difference between the learner moving forward or not.
Clarify steps, reveal the foundation skill nuances for this workplace context, expose common mistakes, or misunderstandings.
- Confirm progress, strengths and what’s needed
- Construct clear benchmarks/checklists/rubrics with what is expected or required
If you are interested in:
How to build LLN assessment into VET training (including formative assessment):
- join us as we deliver a webinar via Velg on 30 August, 2016.
- contact us to answer your questions