What is assessment for learning?
Assessment can be formative or summative:
- Summative: guides overall judgement about competence, fitness to practice, accountability, and advancement to higher levels of responsibility. Assessment of learning can promote surface strategies.
- Formative: guides the learning process, provides feedback and reassurance, promotes reflection and shapes values. Assessment for learning, can promote deeper learning strategies.
As a training officer, it is important to know what your trainee’s experience and skill set is so that you can create opportunities for them to develop, learn and make progress. Using Assessment for Learning (AFL) should ‘close the gap’ between what the trainee knows and what the trainee needs to learn.
Use questioning to identify what level a trainee is working at, provide feedback on what their next steps should be to improve their learning. Training Officers can model what successful work looks like and encourage trainees to work with peers to learn from one another too.
Training Officers should create opportunities for learners to undertake remedial action or consolidation activities, learning experiences should be differentiated for the needs of the trainee.
The importance of using assessment criteria and feedback
Assessment drives learning. Trainees can apply the learning outcomes required from the curriculum library to examples of work produced to illustrate the standards required. As a training officer, understand differentiation – not all trainees will be at the same point at the same time, expect to scaffold or support trainees with their learning at different stages.
Consistently measuring progress against the learning outcomes over several attempts with constructive feedback and next steps of what a trainee needs to do to improve, will help the trainee meet the learning outcomes.
You have three options on the OneFile e-portfolio, to accept, reject or resubmit evidence, if you ask the trainee to resubmit or reject their evidence you MUST provide the trainee with feedback and comments on what they need to do to improve.
How can you support trainees to reflect on feedback?
It is important to provide opportunities for trainees to think things through for themselves and reflect on their learning. To support trainees to reflect on valuable feedback, Training Officers could:
- Use minutes of one-to-one review meetings as evidence of ongoing feedback and progress.
- Promote motivation and engagement for trainees in appropriate learning activities.
- Confirm the trainee’s proficiency and knowledge regarding a technique detailing what they need to do to improve their performance of the technique.
- Question trainees about working through an error. For example: How might it be caused or discovered? What should be done when it is discovered? How should it be reported? How might this affect the patient?
Good feedback behaviours
Feedback can have a powerful influence on a trainee’s performance. Feedback can trigger further development and improvement when done in a positive and constructive way. Below are some suggestions to consider when delivering feedback.
Find a quiet and private space, make it a two-way conversation, pitch, tone and non-verbal ques are important to create a good learning environment.
Focus specifically on the behaviour and the performance rather than the person, base feedback on observed facts and specifics.
Allow the feedback to sink in. Provide opportunities for trainees to think things through for themselves and reflect on their learning. Listen empathetically.
Don’t email negative feedback or wait for an appraisal meeting. Tackle issues as soon as possible, make feedback a normal routine process so the trainee does not find it unusual.
Listen before you speak. There might be something that you are not aware of.
Here are some ideas that will help you give good feedback.
- Feedback is a core component of formative assessment and central to learning.
- Informs trainee of progress or lack thereof.
- Gives trainees insight into observed learning needs and resources available to facilitate their learning.
- Promotes motivation and engagement for trainees in appropriate learning activities.
- Feedback has a powerful influence on trainee performance.
- Thoughtfully design learning experiences in a differentiated way.