Assessment methods are ways in which evidence can be collected from a learner and assessed to confirm that the learner has the appropriate skills and knowledge to pass a qualification. Assessment methods are sometimes specified within a qualification or assessment strategy, so please carefully read the qualification specification and any associated assessment strategy and support documentation that Highfield provides.
Where knowledge evidence is required, appropriate assessment methods would be methods that require the learner to speak of or write of what they know. So, questions, assignments, discussions and so on.
Where performance, skills or competence evidence is required some qualifications require observations to take place of the learner completing a task. However, some qualifications allow for other assessment methods that may be more appropriate to the nature of the qualification such as witness testimony, simulation, role play or reflective accounts where the learner speaks or writes about what they did in a situation that actually took place.
Here are some common assessment methods:
Observation – this is the most natural way to collect evidence of a learner’s competence. The assessor should state clearly what they have seen the learner do and map this against the relevant assessment criteria. Where an assessor is observing a group of learners, the observation they put into the learner’s portfolio must be individual to the learner, for example, what did that particular learner act, speak, work or perform?
Please note, there may be circumstances within a qualification where observation is not appropriate. Please always consider confidentiality, dignity and privacy when considering observation as an option.
Expert/Witness testimony – this is where another person states what the learner has done. As with observation, this must be individual to the learner and must be specific in how it meets the assessment criteria. It is important that the witness used is in a position to understand what needs to be assessed, what would meet the criteria sufficiently and is briefed on the level of detail they should provide to the assessor. It is good practice to give examples of how the criteria has been met by writing exactly what the learner did to meet the criteria and not just simply stating that the criteria has been met.
A witness testimony should not be used to claim a learner’s knowledge. This would need to be captured through other methods as follows:
Questioning – this can be written or verbal. The learner should answer the question and ensure that the verb has been met. Verbs such as ‘describe’, ‘evaluate’ and ‘analyse’ would require written sentences rather than the verb ‘list’.
Discussion – this should be planned with the learner, so they are aware of what is to be discussed. This should be more like a conversation than a question-and-answer session. If led correctly, the discussion could also link into competence evidence where the learner may discuss things they have done, situations they have experienced and the actions they have taken. The discussion could be recorded and supplied as evidence as this adds to authentication of the portfolio.