Achieving Consistent Results When Assessing
Being an Assessor is an incredibly rewarding experience. But with so many different rules and regulations to follow, it can be hard to stay up to date. If you are a regular reader of the Brooks & Kirk blogs you will know that we like to be on the ball with changes within the industry. We understand the importance of providing you with all the information you need to stay up to date. Why waste time scrolling through several pages of Google when you can find all you need on our website?
There are some basic ‘rules of thumb’ around assessment that are considered as standard practice. We thought it would be useful to have a quick recap on these.
Assessment Must Be Agreed
When carrying out assessments, Assessors should always stick to the assessment plan provided for that particular qualification. By following this, it ensures a level of standardisation across learners. The reason assessment planning is taken so seriously is because it must be in agreement between the two parties involved; the Assessor, and the learner being assessed. Assessment planning helps to ensure:
- The learner knows what is expected in the assessment;
- The assessor knows what to be looking for to meet the criteria.
Before an Assessment begins, the Assessor will confirm with their learner that they are happy with the assessment plan. This will then be signed by both parties.
This approach means that the learner stays focused on gathering relevant evidence. By sticking to the guidelines set out in the assessment plan this stops them going off on the wrong path.
Planning & Carrying Out Observations
Some Assessors shy away from planning out observations. They feel a formal agreement would lead to a very structured assessment, which would feel very artificial; it may not let the learner have the freedom to think outside of the box. Whilst observations should be planned to allow for some kind of structure, every single detail doesn’t have to be meticulously planned. By confirming with the learner a window during which performance will be observed, this takes a lot of pressure off whilst keeping the assessment process formal.
Some people argue that assessments should be carried out in a secretive manner so that the true performance of the job holder can be assessed. The main reason behind this is a lack of trust with the job holder – they struggle to perform when being supervised. If there is a genuine concern that there is a lack of performance, then this should be addressed between both the individual and the Assessor before the assessment begins.
Behaviour & Communication Skills
Just like with exams, being assessed can be incredibly anxiety-provoking for some individuals, particularly as someone is watching over them and critiquing their every move. Experienced Assessors will be able to put their learners at ease way ahead of the actual assessment itself. This is important to ensure they are focusing on the job at hand, rather than the assessment.
Another thing that is key during the assessment is communication, but in a balanced way. Knowing when to keep quiet is just as important as knowing when to guide the learner. Assessor training programmes are developed to teach Assessors to be aware of their communication skills, and help to put their learners at ease/
Assessments Must Be Evidence-Based
This may sound like going back to basics, but it is important to include nonetheless. The reason evidence-based assessments are used is to remove the influence of bias and subjectivity. Evidence needs to be produced from real work, and should be relevant to the job role the learner has.
When choosing the methods of assessment, a good way to start is to see what evidence can physically be produced from the work itself. Once this has been established, the Assessor can see where the evidence can be supplemented by the learner through their knowledge.
By using these common principles when carrying out assessments, you will be able to deliver consistent results in your approach to assessing. For more information on how to become an Assessor, please get in touch with the team at Brooks and Kirk on 01205 805155.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.