The Importance of Assessment
We may not know it but assessment is part of our everyday lives and we constantly make assessment decisions and judgements based upon the information we receive from our interactions with others and our surroundings. For example, when we cross the road we will assess the best place to cross, the crossing distance involved, the speed and frequency of traffic and then decide whether or not it is safe to cross. We make this judgement based upon our experience, knowledge, understanding and own physical performance. Get it wrong and it can have dire consequences.
Whilst we are constantly making assessment decisions that does not mean, in reality, we understand the assessment process.
In respect of Close Protection I wish to examine two particular aspects namely assessment within the training and learning process and assessment of work based competence. Whilst the ultimate aims for undertaking such assessments are different they can both use the same assessment methodology.
One thing must be understood from the start that assessment is not about achieving overall grades or marks or simple evaluation of performance; it is much more involved than that.
Assessment in training
Assessment is a crucial part of the training cycle and to be effective needs to be an ongoing systematic process throughout the learning event. As a trainer you must undertake an initial assessment of your student’s capabilities and existing knowledge and understanding to enable and start the training process at the correct level; you must continue to assess a student’s performance during a course to ensure they have grasped and understand what is being taught and are ready to move onto the next stage or level. This allows you to manage the learning process more effectively, meeting individual needs as opposed to a “one size fits all” approach. You can identify those students who need that little bit extra time and help to succeed on your course. This is known as formative assessment.
Assessment at the end of a session or training event is also an essential part of the training cycle; it will establish if your student has achieved the aims and objectives and attained the necessary level of achievement or competence required. This is known as summative assessment. Get this wrong and you will have a student or students who are ill prepared; they may have completed the course but do not have the required level of skill, knowledge or understanding to put it into practice.
Work Based Competence
Assessment is a crucial element of any recruitment process. Before you recruit an applicant you need to be satisfied they have the necessary skills, abilities, knowledge and understanding to perform a role or duties to the required standards. In other words they are occupationally competent. An applicant may have a wealth of experience or qualifications but can they actually perform in the role? Get this wrong and the first you might know your new employee isn’t as good as his or her CV suggests, will be in the field when it all goes wrong. What impact would that have on your company image?
As an employer or supervisor a process of continued regular assessment is essential to ensure your staff maintain their levels of competence and keep their skills, abilities and knowledge up to date. This is done in the workplace and uses similar assessment practices as the training environment.
Training and Qualifications
If you want an effective, robust assessment process then the correct training is essential, as you need to understand how to plan and prepare for assessment; how to assess performance, knowledge and understanding; how to judge and record evidence against standards; how to deliver feedback and review candidate performance. You need to understand the different assessment methods available, how to identify and select the most appropriate to achieve valid and reliable, safe and sufficient judgements of a candidate’s performance, knowledge and understanding. The training is not difficult nor does it require long periods of study or downtime away from the working environment.
Training providers can offer recognised assessor qualifications, accredited with a national awarding organisation, which are easily achieved if you are involved in training or a role where you assess against recognised sector standards such as the close protection SIA award.
As an individual if you receive training and obtain an assessment qualification you will improve your skill set and be able to use it to progress onto higher level awards, certificates or qualifications. It will also present greater employment opportunities across a range of sectors, as trained and qualified assessors are always in demand.
For an employer it will help in recruiting people who are occupationally competent, develop your current staff and improve the delivery and results for your own training courses, which in turn will improve your reputation for producing well trained students. Assessment practices delivered by well trained and qualified staff ensure your assessment processes are robust and defensible to examination and challenge.
As I said at the start, get it wrong and it can have dire consequences. If you would like further details of the training courses and qualifications offered visit www.petasltd.co.uk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.