Adapting Assessments for Your Learners – A Beginners Guide
Adapting assessments for your learner’s needs is an important part of being an assessor. Everyone has different ways of learning, called ‘learning styles’. Some people are more visual learners, whilst others learn by physically doing things.
Understanding what type of learner your students are will help you when it comes to carrying out their assessments. The assessment should cater for all learning styles, and should not inhibit the learning process. Are you struggling to adapt your assessments for your learners? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Give Learners More Time
Think back to when you were at school and the extra support options available during exams. Students who required it were allocated extra time. There can be a whole host of reasons for this. One of the reasons are people with learning disadvantages such as Dyslexia may take longer to understand questions. They may also need extra time to give an answer, whether written or verbal.
Take the time to ask your learner early on whether they have any specific needs that may have an impact on their performance. Not all learners will feel comfortable disclosing specific needs to others. It may take some time and relationship building for your learner to trust you. You can find out more about adapting to learners with specific needs in our blog post.
Consider a Scribe
With technology being so advanced nowadays, if your learner is struggling with writing there are so many options. Whether they find it easier to speak into a voice recorder, or use a tablet to communicate, there are ways around writing. If your learner has any specific needs they may need extra help with getting their thoughts down onto paper. Using a Scribe – a person responsible for providing an accurate and legible handwritten record from the personal dictation of a student – can also help with this.
Verbal & Written Communication
Multiple choice quizzes are a popular assessment method. They enables the Assessor to gain an understanding of the knowledge the learner has. However, the disadvantage is that this type of assessment can exclude learners who prefer to communicate verbally. Many awarding bodies allow a verbal method of assessment as an alternative for those who need it. You just need to get in touch with the relevant awarding body to see what options there are for alternative methods of assessment.
Coursework & Exams
We have all been there…. revising for months on end for a really important exam, and we get into the exam and we freeze up. Our brain is just blank and we can’t find the answers! Some people have this to the extreme where they completely panic in an exam situation and their hard work is not reflected in the results. Some learners really struggle in this environment, and luckily written exams aren’t the only ways of assessing learners now. Observations are the main method of assessment used, as well as practical assessments which can be carried out in the work environment.
Carrying Out the Assessments
When you are assessing your learners it is important that you give them feedback on how they have performed. This feedback should be delivered in a constructive way to ensure you keep your learner motivated to improve. Take the time to identify the strengths that your learner has, and praise them when they have done something well. It is all about building up a good relationship with your learner, in order to guide them through the course.
Have you had to adapt any assessment methods for your learners to help them? We would love to hear of any innovative tools you have used. Leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.