As an Assessor, you will be responsible for collecting evidence produced by your learner throughout the duration of their qualification or apprenticeship. This evidence forms part of the competency units, showing the learner has met the standards required. The role of an Assessor also includes giving feedback and offering advice if the standards have not been met.
Let’s have a look at some of the good and bad practices when it comes to gathering evidence. Keep an eye out for more within this ‘good vs bad’ series where we will touch on some other pain points when it comes to assessing.
Gathering Evidence – Good Practices
The main thing when collecting evidence is to ensure all of the assessments are ‘holistic’ (comprehensive) where possible. As an Assessor, you should collect as much evidence as possible during the assessments. It is always best to obtain too much rather than too little. When you are carrying out an observation with a learner it is always a good idea to video or voice record the session (if you can). This means that when you are writing up their report later on, you won’t miss out any important details.
By getting into the habit of collecting lots of evidence, you will be covering as much criteria as possible. Rather than asking the learner to carry out one task for one criteria, look at whether there may be some overlap in the evidence they are producing. It may be that this fits more criteria than you originally intended.
You may find that naturally occurring evidence presents itself, and it is important not to disregard this just because it hasn’t been factored in. Use this where appropriate to evidence the requirements of the qualification, but don’t use it to replace well-planned evidence. Think of it more as a ‘complimentary’ source of evidence.
Going back to recording evidence using video or voice recorders, you do have to be careful with these. It may not always be an appropriate method to collect evidence. For example, if your learner is working within Adult Care or Early Years, recordings may not be possible. You may want to learn shorthand if this is the case! When gathering evidence from a learner take the time to ensure no confidential information is displayed during video recordings, or is present in their portfolio.
The Assessment Process – Bad Practices
Whilst we would never advocate these bad practices, it is important to make you aware of them. It is important that you don’t ‘stretch’ evidence and make it fit the assessment criteria. If you don’t have enough evidence to judge against the requirements of the qualification, you must arrange another follow-up assessment with your learner.
This extra evidence can be in the form of an observation; written assessment; professional discussion; or any other method that is suitable. Feedback given to the learner should be clear, and if you have not managed to gather enough evidence, they need to know. Explain which particular area of the qualification criteria they have not met, and provide guidance on what they can do to rectify this.
By adhering to an assessment plan you should gather exactly the right amount of evidence you need. Don’t ‘over-assess’ your learner by asking them to provide multiple pieces of evidence when only one piece is required. This can add extra stress to your learner which is completely unnecessary. In order to avoid ‘over-assessment’, it is important to take a wider look at the assessment plan. If there are similar learning outcomes across different modules there may be an opportunity to reduce the amount of evidence collected by grouping them together.
Protection of Minors
One really important thing to consider when collecting evidence is the protection of minors. If you are using videos or photography in order to gather evidence, care should be taken where under 18s are involved. Both the learner and the centre have a responsibility for ensuring child protection policies are followed. You don’t want a piece of evidence to be refused on the grounds of putting a minor at risk!
We hope you are enjoying our ‘good vs. bad’ practice in assessing blog series. Keep your eye on the website for some more in the following weeks.