Initial and Diagnostic assessment in Education
Institution of Affiliation
Analysis of the role and use of initial and diagnostic assessment in agreeing individual learning goals with learners.
Initial and diagnostic assessment is an evaluation of the fundamental knowledge and skills of the learner (Steadman, 2006, p. 152). It is undertaken during the earlier stage of the learning program before studies begin. The assessment gauges the learners’ initial understanding of a particular subject. The process helps the tutors determine the learners’ qualifications regarding their strengths and weakness. The tutors identify the specific needs of every learner and the extra support that particular learners may require from the beginning of the classes. A tutor can then tailor-make the teaching plan in line with the needs of the learners. For instance, the government of UK requires that tutors exhibit equality and diversity for all learners irrespective of their capabilities.
Therefore, it is the goal of the tutors to create a learning environment and course outline that provides an equal learning opportunity for the success of every learner. Hence, the initial assessment is the benchmark that determines the reference point from which the learners’ learning will progress. The tutor removes any hindrances in the specific learner’s area to promote active education. The assessment is a cooperative determination between the tutor and the learner as it aims to prepare the learner for the learning process (Steadman, 2006, p. 156). The tutors develop the individual learning plan (ILP) that will foster a good tutor-learner relationship which creates confidence in the learners.
Identifying and addressing the individual needs of the learners is essential for all tutors. Learners have a similarity in that they all require specific categories; classroom structure, a curriculum, learning management and learning motivation. However, tutors need to understand that there are personal factors that impact the learning environment on different occasions. Each learner has different needs and requirements on the identified categories. Therefore, understanding the individual needs of the learners helps tutors to develop personalized learning atmosphere that will decrease the real differences that can have detrimental effects on learning outcomes.
On the other hand, tutors can develop a personalized curriculum that will enable each learner to approach the learning program within their capability which creates better retention of the information given. It also promotes the moral of every learner and promotes problem-solving cognition abilities as the aim of the tutor and the learners is to learn at the same pace.
On the other hand, identifying the individual learner’s needs creates a good learner and tutor relationship (Brezicha, 2015, p.98). The learner actively engages with the personalized materials and coursework. It promotes flexibility and adaptability mentality among the learners that is of the essence in their future careers. It shifts the focus from classroom test to other essential learning materials. Moreover, the tutor acts a facilitator rather than a solid lecturer who promotes better learning outcomes. The learners feel the active presence of the tutor as a guide not merely someone to deliver tests requiring answers. The learners also feel proud to achieve the personal outlined goals. The learners explore their talents and learning is never dull. The advanced learners get a challenging opportunity that sharpens their skills while the struggling learners receives the necessary assistance. Therefore, the importance of identifying the individual needs of the learners are many and of much relevance to the tutors in developing a learning plan.
The law content is often diverse requiring the tutors to develop topics that will aid in the learning process. As a tutor, one is expected to employ the initial and diagnostic assessment at the beginning of every class. With the aim of assessing the learners’ level of understanding on a particular topic which aids in the development of the appropriate learning plan. It helps gauge the individual learner’s weak areas where guidance and support are essential (Steadman, 2008, p. 154). A good example is a one time I was beginning a research and writing class. The initial assessment revealed that majority of my students lack the necessary understanding of bibliography and practical skills in writing. For these learners, I needed to develop a learning plan that begun with critical basics legal research that would prepare the learners for further learning.
A certain percentage of the learners had poor writing skills, and hence I developed personalized training tutorials for these learners. It was necessary that they first develop excellent skills in writing that would prepare them for the beginning of the research class. However, there were some learners had good impeccable writing skills in general English but not content construction or writing. Hence, these learners held group discussions to assist their fellow mates with poor English writing skills to be on the same level. Consequently, upon all learners understanding English writing skills, I held classroom presentation on research construction or writing which was new to all the learners. Creating this uniformity before starting the research class ensured that the learners were all at the same level promoting equality.
In this tutoring practice, one is expected to employ different methods of initial and diagnostic assessment. The plans include; interviews, survey questionnaires, curriculum vitae and application forms to identify first knowledge and skills of college learners that is the individual performances. For example, the learners with high grades may not require an introduction to the law basics. However, learners with lower performances will need extra tutoring since their understanding capacity is lower than the high-grade learners. Additionally, the interview and questionnaire provide added information such as the individual background of the learner such as family history, cultural ethnicity, hobbies, and talents. The background of the learner is relevant in developing the ILP of each learner (Mutekwe, 2016, p. 122). For instance, there are some learner come from families with a low standard of living, and this may have an effect on the learning outcome. As a tutor, this information is helpful as such learners miss some lessons due to failure to meet the tuition fees. Hence, as a tutor, you work to ensure that the lost lessons are covered through alternative programs such as tutorial support and use of learners’ representatives. The learner can read through the tutorials and handouts to catch up the missed coursework units.
Additionally, they often appoint learners’ representatives at the start of the learning program by leadership skills which I gather during the interview. The representatives lead other groups that tutors develop as their teaching plan to integrate different talents, hobbies, knowledge, and skills. The ILP and questionnaires are also used to record the learners’ individual learning goals. The ILP clears the asserted goals and objectives of each learner at the start of every lesson. The learners clearly understood what was expected of them and could use the IPL to gauge if they have met all the requirements. Additionally, I would request the students to feel a question to get their feedback through rating. I also used technology such as online teaching forums to record the learner’s individual learning goals. Use of technology facilitates the teaching plan as being able to share each class goals and objectives before the start of the class. Ultimately the students attend the course ready to learn.
Appropriate methods of learning are essential for smooth learning process (Brezicha, 2015, p. 115). As a tutor, integrating different learning methods such as; participative methods, learner-student methods, teacher-centred methods and content-centred methods. In the teacher-centred approach, one is expected to act as the instructor and the learners are the spectators. To deliver the information in different areas of study. To act as the sole source of knowledge through lectures. The method is one dimensional where the learners take notes on the different study lessons.
On the other hand, integrating student-centred method where which is two dimensional. The sharing of knowledge and skills comes from both the tutors and the learners. Hence, in this case, one play the role of both the facilitator and a learner. The method is less authoritative compared to the teacher-centred method (Hou, 2015, p. 430). Learners share their knowledge and skills and can open criticize the tutor’s understanding of different study topics. The other teaching method that is engaged is the content-centred method where the main component of the class is the content under study. In these cases, tutors make power-point slides on a given topic where students strictly follow the information provided without making any alterations as it may result in a change in its meaning. For example, studies with numerous terminologies that are not subject to modifications and learners should read and interpret their meanings without making any changes. However, there are other cases where tutors incorporate all the stated methods and this is referred to as a participative method. The technique is more effective in the law classes as the profession has different jargons and one size fits all way is not the most applicable.
Learners have different learning capabilities, and tutors should plan lessons to address the individual needs of every participant in the class. It is necessary to cater for the different levels of understanding among the learners that can be achieved by incorporating Bloom’s taxonomy and Kolb’s learning styles. Bloom categorized learning to include: acquiring of knowledge, gaining of skills and developing attitudes (Hou, 2015, p. 425). On the other hand, is Kolb’s learning styles that entails; diverging (feeling the concept taught), assimilating the concept (watching and thinking about the knowledge acquired), converging and accommodating the knowledge gained (Kong, 2014, p. 168). Hence, it is essential to develop different lesson plans that are fit for the diverse needs of the learners, to ensure that by the end of the lesson they acquire the relevant knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
Brezicha, K., 2015. One size does not fit all: Differentiating leadership to support teachers in school reform. Educational Administration Quarterly, 51(1), pp.96-132.
Hou, H.T., 2015. Integrating cluster and sequential analysis to explore learners’ flow and behavioral patterns in a simulation game with situated-learning context for science courses: A video-based process exploration. Computers in human behavior, 48, pp.424-435.
Mutekwe, E., 2016. Interrogating the Social Class Assumptions and Classroom Implications of Bernstein’s Pedagogic Discourse of Visible and Invisible Pedagogies. Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology, 7(2), pp.118-125.
Steadman, R.H., 2008. Simulation-based training is superior to problem-based learning for the acquisition of critical assessment and management skills. Critical care medicine, 34(1), pp.151-157.