DELTA notes

Assessment in DELTA M3 assignment

With so little left, the assessment section in DELTA assignment may seem to be an easy part and a minor detail. Don’t be tempted to think so as there is a trap. Testing and assessment is, actually, a huge field. It includes broad theory, lots of ways of applying that theory and many many more contradictions and open debates about what is good and what is bad.

Brush up your terminology.

DELTA in simple terms: 
If you are not clear about assessment types, just keep in mind that 
“When the chef tastes the sauce it is formative assessment; when the customer tastes, it is summative”.

Once you start reading assessment-related books and articles, you’ll notice that there is a huge amount of terms. Just for a start, you’ll need to clearly distinguish between assessment itself and evaluation. Then there will be a long list of testing characteristics (see on the picture, taken from here), each of which may be subdivided into more categories. Image result for validity types language assessment

Moreover, you’ll need to operate such terms as indirect and direct testing; system- and performance-referenced testing; norm – and criterion-referenced testing and so on. You don’t have to define all terms in your work (there is just not enough space for it), but you need to weave it through the whole section to show that you know the material and can apply it in your course.

You always have a choice of assessing proficiency or performance, you should be able to speculate about the task complexity and task difficulty (or, at least, make the right decisions for your group in this terms).

Plus, there are different approaches to “who” (teacher- / peer- / self-assessment) and “how” (different techniques).

How to deal with that theory?

There is no correct answer but for me, it was super helpful to concentrate on just a few sources, take a big piece of paper and take notes about all the crucial terms. When I was doing it, I was constantly comparing it with my course and tried immediately to make some assumptions and connections. You may highlight what you will use and cross out the material which is not really related to your assignment, draw arrows to connect concepts and don’t hesitate to take some nice quotations with the page details.

Once you finish that, you’ll have a “map” of your section which means that it’s time to approach the practical part of this section: create the test paper.

How to write the tests for appendices.

First thing first: decide when and how long the students will take the summative assessment and the role of formative assessment for your course. If you were taking the top-approach to work top-bottom-bottom-top you should have thought about it when working on section 3, so that your course plan has some slots. If not – no worries, you can do it right now.

Next, you take your list of objectives, open the course and make a list of possible topics to include.

REMEMBER: Each task should address an objective and should cover the taught material. It is logical and very straightforward, but somewhere in the middle you may lose it and it will lead to extra work.

You can either create your test from the scratch or adapt an existing test (don’t forget to include the source details).

What to write in the assignment body?

From what I have seen, there are two main approaches to this section: present your assessment views, take formal and summatrive assessments one by one and give your reasons of “what” and “how”, adding terms here and there; or you can take a test, write a short comment in general details and, then, come back to the list of objectives and, just enumerating them one by one, give explanations of how you will assess the achievement of each objective and where (test 1, task 5). Certainly, there may be many more ways to organise the section, but these are the common ones.

Add a section of the course evaluation (you will need to put some document for this purpose to the appendix) and how would you understand that your course is successful.

Guiding questions

• How will you monitor learning progress?
• How will you assess learning outcomes?
• What are the assessment principles outlined in the testing literature which will be applied to the assessments?
• How have these principles influenced your choice of assessments?
• In what ways, if any, are your choices of assessments constrained?
• How fit for purpose are the assessments in relation to your learner group and the proposed course?
• What constraints and opportunities affect the proposed assessment procedures?
• How will the course be evaluated for future use?

The trick of the section is to squeeze lots of test description details and all the reasoning behind your choices with a fair amount of theory so that anyone can see what a great work have you done. Stress out the strongest parts of your assessment and base this section on everything you have written before – constantly address the objectives, students’ needs, features from the first section.

It’s the last section so don’t do it “somehow just to finish quickly”. It is the last part the examiner will read so the memories of it will be fresh and no conclusion can erase poor impression, not talking about the points given to each section separately. Stay strong, the work is about to finish!

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