Business & Computing Examinations

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BCE Centre Information - Centre Assessment

(i) Policy

Assessment is the means by which the progress of candidates is monitored. It is a tool to inform curriculum planning and learning programmes. Assessment at Centres should support each candidate in the achievement of his or her full learning potential and fosters the development of self esteem and personal responsibility. Assessment is the process of obtaining, analysing and interpreting evidence for use by both candidates and tutor to enable the review, planning and improvement of learning. It is fully integrated with the delivery of the curriculum and is an essential component of effective classroom practice.

In addition to providing a measure of the candidates’ achievement on qualification-based courses, it also provides diagnostic information that assist both staff and candidates in the ongoing improvement of the learning and teaching process. To contribute usefully to both of these functions, it is essential that assessment:
• Is fair and ensures parity of treatment and comparable assessment demands in subjects of equal level
• Is reliable, ensuring that assessment decisions are made consistently throughout the centre
• Is valid, by ensuring that each assessment relates to the intended outcomes of the subject(s) studied
• Is transparent, in that it is clear to candidates, staff and external auditors the criteria and methods by which candidates’ work is being judged.
• Recognises and respects equality and diversity.

Why centres should assess?
• To define each candidate’s ability; what the candidate knows, understands and can apply.
• To reveal candidates’ strengths and weaknesses
• To communicate accurate information about the candidate that is useful to tutors, employers and educational agencies.
• To comply with statutory requirements

Strategies for assessment • Observation – watching the candidates attempting tasks
• Questioning/discussion with the candidates
• Examining candidates’ written assignments
• Marking candidates’ work according to the marking policy
• Class devised exercises

Indicators of effective assessment

The tutor’s assessment of the candidates’ work can be considered effective when:
• Assessment is an integral part of planning, teaching and learning; the tutors use suitable forms of assessment, based on expectations which are clear; realistic and understood by the candidates.
• The candidates written work is regularly and consistently marked in ways that highlight the strengths and shortcomings, using approaches that are well understood by candidates.
• The level and nature of the candidates’ prior attainments influence the selection and use of teaching methods and subject content; the candidates’ strengths are consolidated and their weaknesses are addressed.
• The purpose of homework is explained clearly; the work which is set is appropriate to the needs of the candidates, reinforces and extends their knowledge and understanding and provides the tutors with evidence of progress.

Scope

This policy should apply to all programmes offered by the centre where all or part of the programme is formally assessed.

(ii) Planning for assessment

Assessment is built into planning and takes place during each topic. Weekly plans of work show assessment focus and relevant comments are added to individual records. We at Business & Computing Examinations recognise and encourage the following characteristics of good practice assessment which:

1. Promotes and supports learning
• Identifies what candidates know, understand and can do
• Enables consistent monitoring of candidates progress
• Identifies individual learning styles
• Identifies individual learning strengths and weaknesses
• Encourages progression in learning

2. Informs teaching
• Assists lesson planning
• Informs review of content and skills
• Promotes a variety of teaching strategies
• Enables consistent monitoring of teaching progress
• Encourages self reflection

3. Is both formative and summative
• Promotes a shared learning culture
• Provides clear and regular feedback
• Diagnoses learning difficulties
• Measures candidate performance
• Identifies clear and shared targets for candidates progress
• Promotes differentiation by outcome
• Provides effective and progressive candidates records

4. Uses appropriate and diverse strategies
• Is both formal and informal
• Accommodates a variety of learning styles
• Tests a range of skills
• Encourages effective and standardised marking procedure
• Is both quantitative and qualitative
• Is carried out in a range of contexts

5. Recognises ALL candidates progress and achievement
• Rewards progress, effort and achievement
• Fosters motivation and promotes a commitment to learning
• Creates opportunities for self direction
• Fosters self esteem and social development

6. Develops the capacity for self assessment
• Shares learning outcomes and assessment criteria
• Gives sensitive and constructive feedback
• Supports candidates in self and peer assessment activities
• Engages candidates in realistic target setting

(iii) Types of assessment Summative is assessment of learning. It is used mainly to measure performance and clearly identifies a standard of candidate attainment. It is carried out at the end of a period of learning.

Examples:
• Final examinations
• End of topic tests

Formative is assessment for learning. It is ongoing and provides evidence of and for progression in learning. It supports learning through identifying difficulties, providing feedback and diagnosing future learning priorities.

Examples:
• Class work
• Home work
• Questioning
• Oral discussion
• Presentation
• Short recall test
• Practical project
• Research

Self assessment encourages candidates to take responsibility for their own learning by:
Evaluating their own achievement against shared learning outcomes.
Identifying their own strengths and areas for improvement
Encouraging individual learning goals and action plans for future progression
Fostering a self reflective learning culture
Encouraging independence in learning

Examples:
• University application forms
• Candidate personal statement
• Record of achievement
• Progress file

(iv) Recording and Reporting

Recording and reporting ensures regular and relevant communication of candidate attainment and progress of candidates, tutors and other appropriate external audiences. It is linked to both formative and summative methods of assessment and the recording and reporting of individual candidate assessment outcomes, measured against agreed and shared assessment criteria, is the responsibility of each teach, within the context of the college assessment policies.

Consistent record keeping allows the effective monitoring of candidates’ progress and the regular evaluation of teaching content/styles/methods.

1. Formal reports - a class performance report is produced for each topic.

2. Individual references – for candidates and outside agencies; employers/universities are reported as requested. These are completed by the Principal or Director of Studies.

3. Final examination – at the end of the course, final examinations are to be held. Each candidate receives an examination result slip which state subjects passed or failed. Only those who pass all subjects including project receive a Certificate.

4. Internal reporting – this is to be held before the final examinations. It is intended to identify a small number of candidates whose performance, based on the evidence of recent performance (class performance report), is either particularly credit worthy or giving cause for concern. Tutors will report to the Centre Head and candidates will be informed as required. This is normally a casual meeting with tutor and principal. Afterwards the principal will have words of encouragement with the relevant candidate(s).

(v) Roles and responsibilities The centre assessment policy and its implementation within and across departments is monitored and evaluated by the centre head.

Good practice can be clearly identified through:
• Consistent planning
• Assessment tasks fully integrated with plan of work
• Standardised marking
• Constructive feedback
• Assessment data used to inform teaching and learning
• Assessment data regularly and consistently recorded
• Assessment data used for regular reporting
• Regular self assessment by staff and candidates
• Liaison with Principal for individual candidate performance

Subject tutors It is the responsibility of subject tutors to:
• Implement college policy on assessment, evaluating their implementation
• Mark in accordance with approved policy in a positive, accurate, meaningful and diagnostic style

Centre Assessment Methods

Instead of just waiting for the final examination, centres can assess students using the following methods:-
Homework - students do not read unless asked to do so. Giving students extra work after lessons helps them perform better in the final examination. Practice makes perfect.
Performance - based items or events – questions, tasks or activities in groups
Projects or experiments – extended performance tasks that may take several days or weeks
Portifolios – collections of student work. Portfolios can be used both formally and informally; ideally, portfolios capture the evolution of students ideas and can be used instructionally as a progress markers for students, teachers and program evaluatiors.

Internal Marking Policy

The marking of candidates work is an important assessment tool which is essential for both progression in pupil learning and effective teaching. Good practice is promoted through regular, accurate and consistent marking by all tutors. Positive marking and feedback which recognises candidates achievement, highlights both strengths and shortcomings and provides clear guidance for improvement are encouraged.

Effective marking helps to:
• Recognise candidate achievement
• Monitor candidate progress
• Diagnose problems in learning
• Provide feedback
• Provide clear guidance for improvement
• Motivate and encourage candidates
• Record and report candidates attainment
• Assist in evaluation and planning

In the context of a review of assessment within the centre, it is the Exam Board’s aim that work is marked:
• Promptly, regularly and consistently
• According to learning outcomes
• According to assessment criteria
• Using both quantitative and qualitative criteria
• For improvement, using constructive commentary

Presentation of work policy Candidate work should be submitted on agreed date. This could be the following day or in a few days times. Maximum number of days for homework, including research, is 7 days. Written or oral feedback must be given to candidates as soon as possible after assessment. In the case of written or other product submitted the feedback must be given within 3 working weeks of the official submission date. Feedback should be as helpful as possible to the candidate i.e. confirming what has gone well and giving clear guidance on what the candidate needs to do in order to improve on their performance.

Arrangements for candidates with special assessment requirements

Assessment must be available to all those who have the potential to achieve the standards required for a particular qualification. However, some candidates may need access to alternative means of providing evidence and/or additional support. Care must be taken that any proposed assessment methods are equal quality and rigour to those for mainstream candidates and demonstrate that the candidate has achieved minimum requirements.

Candidates may be identified as having particular or assessment requirements in relation to, for example, learning difficulties, a visual or hearing impairment, a mental illness, or English as an additional language. This means that they will need appropriate support in their development to help them meet the required standards such as:
• Help with communication
• Adapted equipment and physical environment
• Special information technology
• Confidence-building

Download Centre Assessment Policy