Monday, October 6, 2008

Initial Assessment

For any support tutor, initial assessment is an important time. In my college we try to initially assess all full-time and important part-time courses during induction with the online bksb assessment. It's an intense and busy time, as you try to print out results and give at least a minimum feedback to sometimes anxious people. Then you try to analyse the results and see who might need support.

This year several curriculum and personal tutors have asked me what they are supposed to do with someone who scores E3 on bksb but got a C at GCSE - could be either English or Maths. Such anomalies are really rather common. I sometimes think that maybe as many as 10% of results are anomalies. I use the paper-based BSA Initial Assessment as well, and don't get quite the range of odd results, but some are still odd and it does not go above Level 1.

Initial assessment is a broad tool and bksb in particular is very broad. You quickly move on and judge the learner in a more person-centred way as you get to know them. And, yes, I do support generic basic skills initial assessment, because without that there would be much less support offered and taken up.

1 comment:

Wendell said...

I agree. Even though initial assessments tend to be broad and, often, misleading, they are very useful.

One of the few bits of wisdom to come down from on high in our provincially managed Adult Basic Education program was the instruction to assess early, but not officially "place" anyone in a level for two weeks - long enough for jittery nerves to settle, and a more realistic (if more informal) assessment of skills to take place.

Of course, this is only possible because we have small mixed-level classes employing individualized learning plans.