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The Easy Formative and Summative Assessment Guide Now

Learnership assessment is through formative and summative activities. This post introduces learners to assessments for learnerships. How to identify the evidence expectations to complete and structure your Portfolio of Evidence.

What are Formative and Summative Assessments?

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Formative and summative assessments are two types of assessment used in outcomes-based education and training (OBET), particularly learnerships and apprenticeships.

The OBET Formative and Summative Assessment Process

Outcomes-based education and training use formative and summative assessments:

Only SETA-accredited assessors may conduct assessments, and only on the qualifications they are certified for. Training providers and learners must check the assessor’s credentials before conducting the assessment.

A combination of formative and summative assessments helps to develop evidence to meet or exceed the qualification unit standard requirements. Learners must obtain the training providers’ assessment policy to ensure they understand the process and their rights. The assessment policy will show how the provider deals with assessment disputes raised by learners.

Special note: assessment has already changed in some sectors and will continue to change until all sectors are in the new system. The new system requires that summative assessments are completed at external assessment centres accredited by the QCTO.

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A little background on assessment terms: Formative and Summative

The terms “formative” and “summative” assessments are used in the field of education. They originate in the late 1960s and early 1970s and were first used to describe different types of assessments used in schools and universities. They are now widely used in education.

Formative and Summative Assessment Differences

Formative assessments are ongoing and used to evaluate learning and development as it occurs. Therefore they provide continuous feedback to learners and help to guide future learning and instruction. Formative assessments are thus not used to determine the final certification. This is because they are rather used to help learners improve their knowledge and skills.

The term “formative” comes from the Latin word “formare”: To shape or form

So in the context of education, formative assessments help shape a student’s understanding and skills.

The term “summative” comes from the Latin word “summa”: The highest point or total sum

Summative assessments, on the other hand, evaluate learning and development at the end of a course or program. So this is typically more comprehensive than formative assessment. Summative assessments help determine what a learner knows and can do at a particular point in time.

Therefore, in education, summative assessment evaluates a student’s learning and determines a final grade or certification. So summative reflects the total (sum) of your learning and achievements.

The Learnership Portfolio of Evidence Combines Formative and Summative

The role of a portfolio of evidence in learnerships is to provide a comprehensive record of a learner’s progress and achievements. It includes a collection of evidence. For example, assessments, projects, and other relevant documents, that demonstrate the learner’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. The portfolio of evidence is used as a tool for summative assessment. The POE is regularly reviewed by the learner’s coach or mentor to track progress and provide feedback.

The Formative and Summative activities create the Portfolio of Evidence (PoE). The completed PoE is often at least two lever arch files containing Formative, Summative and workplace evidence. Learnership programmes usually place all formative activities in a Learner Workbook. The summative assessment activities are then contained in the Portfolio of Evidence Guide. The learner PoE will contain both these guides and any additional learner-generated evidence.

In summary, formative and summative assessments evaluate learning and development. The portfolio of evidence provides a comprehensive record of a learner’s achievements and progress. The POE therefore organises all formative and summative assessments to justify why they should receive the qualification.

Types of Evidence in the PoE

1. Direct evidence:

This is when evidence is directly related to the specific learning outcome or achievement under evaluation. This type of evidence is therefore directly observable or measurable. As a result, it can come from a variety of sources, such as tests, observations, or self-reflection.

2. Indirect evidence:

This is evidence that is not directly related to the specific learning outcome or achievement up for evaluation. however, it provides context for understanding the student’s performance. For example, this type of evidence can include things like class participation, attendance, or progress reports.

3. Historical evidence:

This is evidence collected over time to record student progress and growth. For example, this type of evidence can include past projects, tests, and other assessments, as well as reflective writings or discussions.

Learner Workbooks Support Formative and Summative Assessment

Learners complete Workbook tasks, these document their learning progress. They must submit completed Workbooks providing evidence of independent or group learning activities for each module. These activities are Formative Assessment activities and are usually based on specific outcomes. Activities must therefore meet and exceed assessment criteria outcomes.

Workbook activities help facilitators establish which areas learners experience difficulties with. Facilitators must be qualified to adapt and broaden an activity range. The activities assist learners in constructing a portfolio of evidence to meet all established criteria. They monitor and document what was done in preparation for Summative Activities.

Formative activities provide information about your progress, your strengths and weaknesses. The Summative activities test your ability to apply the skills, knowledge and values.

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Writing Reflective Statements for Your Learnership POE

Reflective statements are written to express your thoughts, feelings, and learning from a personal experience or event. To write a reflective statement, follow these steps:

  1. Choose an experience or event to reflect on.
  2. Connect each experience and reflective statement to a learning outcome or specific part of your learning programme.
  3. Describe the experience or event and your initial thoughts and feelings.
  4. Analyze the experience or event to understand what happened and why.
  5. Evaluate the experience and identify what you learned, how it affected you, and how it may be useful in the future.
  6. Write a conclusion summarizing your reflections.

It’s important to be honest, introspective, and critical in your reflection. Writing in a clear, concise, and structured manner can also help you effectively communicate your thoughts and insights.

Training provider responsibilities during the assessment

The training provider guides learners through the Formative and Summative activities. Workplace mentors and coaches assist with workplace evidence.  Workplace evidence should show how learners began with simple tasks and activities and then developed to the stage of practically applying knowledge and skills, hopefully reflecting initiative and innovation.

Training providers assess these portfolios every month and provide learners and employers with feedback regarding progress. So be focused and well-organized!

The training provider is required to be honest with employers about learner competencies and commitment. So heads up, they’ll report you for misconduct or weak submissions.

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Leonie Hall

Leonie Hall, disruptive thinker and dynamic strategist, is an expert in education, development, quality management and innovation. She has spoken at local and international conferences; and currently works as an independent consultant and content developer. Contact Leonie for a consultation.

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