Saturday, 1 January 2011

PTLLS Theory Quesion 7: Range of different assessment methods

BY Matthew Oronsaye
There are various forms of assessment methods in the teaching learning process. What is imperative is to use the right and most effective method of assessment for the objective(s) stated. In my practice as a teacher, I choose the assessment methods based on the immediacy of assessing my students’ learning in a session, and also using them for wider aims of the course towards the all-round development of my students. The abilities and qualities I expect to furnish my students with actually dictates what assessment methods I use as a teacher. This is why in 1996; Nightingale et al stated eight learning outcomes with their corresponding assessment methods.
Some, amongst many of the range of assessment methods available are: group work, case analysis, problem scenario, role play, demonstration, report, observation, journal, portfolio, project, dissertation, applied task, essay, oral and written exams, Q&A, performance, presentation, discussion
Group work: In using group work as a form of assessment, shared group score can be allocated to the group or individual student can be awarded marks based on his or her contribution. Assessment of group work can be formative or summative. When assessment is diagnostically used, then it can be termed formative (Rowntree 1987); but when it is used for information gathering (i.e, continuous assessment or examination at the end of a course) about students that can further be given to a third party, then it can be termed summative assessment. Though there is no clear or massive division between group formative or summative assessments, they should however be a part of learning process for students.
Journal: Learning journals are not just gathering of required tasks and assignments, I sometimes use this to make students take responsibility for their own learning through a reflection on it, on a continuous basis; thereby, assessing their progress. This then makes learning journals of great importance.
Observation: This is a form of seeing while students work. This method of learning about students’ ability or inability helps me (the teacher) to figure out a ways or helping, motivating, encouraging students to be excited in their strengths while working on their weaknesses. These are ways students can approach problems mentally, think strategically, internalise knowledge, and use physical materials. With this, observational tools like anecdotal notes, anecdotal notebooks, anecdotal note cards and labels/adhesive notes can prove vital.
Role play: This is where students take on various roles to portray real events, ideas or concept. I use this method to assess students’ fluency in speaking, accuracy in grammar usage, and ability to handle appropriately content and ideas.
Written examination: Portfolios, dissertations, assignments, reports, diaries, workbooks, and essays are all forms of written assessment. It may take place as course work or in an examination. As a teacher, I feel reasonable adjustments may be employed, depending on the needs of the individual.
Oral examination: I use this for student coursework presentations that support the
key skills of communication and presentation. I often use this for assessing students studying English as a second language
Experiment: Assessing experiments takes a lot of time and specialty. However daunting this is, the result of the assessment gives me, the teacher, a very accurate and better outcome of students’ knowledge, understanding and ability.
As regards explaining the range of assessment methods I would use, I find that in teaching English as a subject, especially creative writing, since the learning outcomes of my lessons fall within the range of recalling, describing, recognising, identifying, imagining, visualising, designing, creating, producing, performing, innovating, carrying out instructions, reflecting and evaluating, I choose such assessment techniques as presentation, demonstration, role play, observation of students’ performance, group work, applied task, written exam, oral exam etc to measure the progress of my students through both formative and summative methods. Again, learning journals can be very helpful in the teaching of English as a subject. They serve as tools which students can use to record their active use of the English language in sharing and describing view points and experiences, much more so as students can compare their past and present language use to communicate. Learning journals are a source of information for teachers and students to track students’ academic progress over the duration of the course. As regards reflections of students on their own learning process, they can use them to note their areas of strengths and weaknesses and what to do to surmount their weak areas.
In evaluating the use of assessment methods in different contexts, I would like to refer to Nightingales’ eight learning outcomes (contexts) that different assessment methods could support. For the learning outcomes of:
- Critical thinking and judgement making; assessment methods of journal, essay, report etc could be used.
- Problems solving and plans development; assessment methods of group work, case analysis, problem scenario, work based problems etc could be used.
- Procedural performance and techniques demonstration; assessment methods of role play, demonstration, experiment, observation etc could be used.
- Self development and management; assessment methods of portfolio, group work, journal etc could be used
- Accessing and information management; assessment methods of project, applied tasks, dissertation, etc could be used.
- Understanding and knowledge demonstration; assessment methods of report, written and oral examinations, essay, etc could be used.
- Performing, creating, designing; assessment methods of projects, performance, portfolio, presentation, etc could be used.
- Communicating; assessment methods of group work, role play, oral presentation, written presentation, discussion, etc could be used.

Green, M. (2003) stated that initial assessment is done ‘with learners’ instead of ‘to them’, and that it should be of benefit and help to learners so as to make them feel positive about themselves and their potentials to learn. To this end, the use of initial assessment is to know one’s learners so as to meet their needs accordingly. This however has to be planned and well executed for learners’ progress and achievement to be measured.

For the sub question: Justify the types of assessment records you would complete and explain why, refer to the answer for theory assessment question 6.

Green M., 2003. Initial Assessment: a learner-centered process. Learning and
Skills Development Agency.

Nightingale, P., Te Wiata, I.T., Toohey, S., Ryan, G., Hughes, C., Magin, D.,1996. Assessing Learning in Universities Professional Development Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia.

Rowntree D., 1987. Assessing Students: How Shall We Know Them? London: Kogan Page.


  1. Its really informative and helpful for the new writers. This essay helped a lot to complete my assignments.

  2. Very nice to know this information but I think one must should be a professional before going for a job we offer you the PTLLS Course on a reasonable offers....

  3. The PTLLS Courses qualification is for new comers to the Lifelong Learning Sector. The qualification is also ideal for people who already work in the industry but want to obtain an official qualification. Before you sign up for a PTLLS course it is a good idea to know what subject you would like to teach, so you can work towards the award in that area.