Ideas for generating assessments
It might be easier to write assessment tools if you use the packages themselves as a source of ideas. These won't be ideal but:
- they will be faster to write
- they'll reflect the requirements quite closely
- it's easy to show how you address unit requirements, and
- you can easily improve them through field-tests.
Adapt generic tools for your particular unit. Essay guides, standard tests, and 360° assessments are easy to relate to particular unit requirements.
Devise a supervisor's reference. It's a simple form and the best way to use it is in an interview. The workplace supervisor makes a recommendation of competency.
A general "This is a nice person" statement from a supervisor is not much use in assessment. A reference should at least testify to competency in tasks or specific responsibilities.
The simplest kind of reference form contains:
- the identifiers (RTO name, dates, place, student, workplace supervisor, and assessor)
- the elements and performance criteria (re-written in good English, and preferably adapted to the context) on each page
- and a set of boxes on eachpage like those below:
Tasks performed by student Competent/Not yet competent Comments Name and signature Date
Several possible improvements:
- You could write out a clearer statement of what is required.
- Telephone or meet the workplace supervisor giving the reference to discuss and verify what is written in the form.
Devise a simple student logbook. The simplest logbook is a diary of satisfactory work done by the student and verified by the supervisor, complete with relevant identifiers at the front. (RTO name, dates, place, student name, workplace supervisor, and assessor) It should act as a contemporaneous record of work. It's a simple little book.
Write a supervisor's logbook. It would need the name of the supervisor, the tasks done, and tick-boxes for the elements and performance criteria. Write the performance criteria in easy language, and give the supervisor a space for name, date, and comments.
A journal is usually a personal document. The assessment tool will primarily comprise:
- a set of instructions to the student on what to do
- a guide for assessing it
- a form for recording the assessment.
If you also ensure that the whole task is done competently, you can devise questions or tasks based on the performance criteria. (You should not normally use criteria as if they were mini-elements, although some of them are written that way.)
A list of open-ended interview questions is an excellent way to assess many kinds of skills because you can investigate what people do and why they do it. The assessment tool will primarily comprise:
- a set of instructions to the assessor
- a set of leading questions
- an explanation to the students on what is required of them
- a form for recording the assessment (It may be specific for that assessment or a generic template)
Create "What if ... " questions to test contingency management skills.
Oral test. Cut and past the "Required knowledge" section into a template, then turn it into open-ended questions. In the instructions, suggest that in an interview, the assessor could follow them up with other questions if necessary.
Re-write performance criteria according to your context. This is a simple way to address reliability issues.
Write a marking guide for assessments. This will address reliability issues.
- Think of what you want students to be able to do.
- Do not try to write multiple choice tests. Writing them requires lots of expertise and time, and they need rigorous field testing to show that students understand them consistently.
- Be flexible and creative: your assessment tools may vary greatly in style, format, media and presentation.
Other thoughts ....
Other tools are longer and more involved, such as some of the more sophisticated references or interviews.
Some assessments can use generic template forms for recording assessment results, others must use especially-written forms.