There are many different ways to give feedback to a learner on the results of their assessment, such as verbally on a one to one basis if appropriate, in writing, ensuring a constructive criticism is sandwiched between two positives etc. All of these forms of feedback can also be completed digitally and whilst it would be nice for the learner and tutor to be face to face, this does not necessarily need to happen, for example with the use of Skype, Google hangouts and Face Time, feedback can be given remotely. I would argue here that unless this tool or a webinar tool is used to observe the work completed, that the immediacy of the feedback may be an issue. Indeed, it may be the case that the learner cannot obtain feedback immediately because they may have to return to work or the tutor is called away. In this case, digital feedback in this way may be more appropriate. It can also be done in a written manner, perhaps over What’s App, text or email. This, I feel, lacks the personal touch of a face to face conversation, as the problem with written feedback is often that the meaning of what is written can be misinterpreted. I would suggest that both are used as forms of feedback, as the learner can re-read the written feedback at any time and they can also keep a copy of it, which may assist them in further assessment and learning if it is formative assessment feedback they have received. A conversation is more easily forgotten but body language can be read from it, reassuring the learner of its genuineness.
Review the assessment process
The assessment process undertaken by my organisation Educ8 starts with the CAM (Client Account Managers) completing recruitment and sign-ups for QCF qualifications (usually the employer will contact them to start the process). There are many people who have a stakehold in this part of the process along with most of the other parts of the assessment process, namely the learner, the employer, the CAMs and the directors of Educ8. The relevant paperwork is completed here. At this stage, the learner’s suitability for the programme has not yet been assessed, neither has their digital literacy knowledge. A gauge as to the level of literacy and digital literacy (as both effect one another) will be undertaken via a screener. This screener is a brief assessment via the computer programme WEST (Wales Essential Skills Toolkit) programme of their skills and will give a starting level. It will not, however, be in depth enough to display a spiky profile for the learner and highlight strengths and weaknesses.This will give a guide as to the level to start the initial/diagnostic WEST assessment later in the process. This screener will be undertaken via a computer with internet access. I believe the results of this screener should be looked at more closely and a judgement as to whether the learner will have difficulty on their QCF programme in general, if literacy or/and digital literacy are problematic, and whether the programme is suitable at that time, i.e. whether further support in these areas should be offered prior to them signing up. The learners will then see their QCF assessor who assesses suitability for the QCF but not because of their Essential Skills screener results but instead gauging their motivation, level of commitment and suitability for it with regards to their job role. This is done via paperwork assessment.
If the assessor is happy to go ahead then they book them onto a WEST initial assessment and diagnostic workshop, where all three assessments are completed, namely Communication, Digital Literacy and Application of Number in one session. These are completed by Essential Skills tutors. This is not an ideal scenario on two counts: one, the assessor should be also making a judgement as to the level of their literacy and digital literacy as both can affect their completion of the QCF as well as their Essential Skills and secondly, the completion of three lengthy in depth assessments in one session could be viewed as unfair on learners. The latter is hampered somewhat by the Welsh Government requirement that all three assessments should be undertaken within 28 days of sign up. The consequences of not doing this are that the learner will be taken off the programme and this will affect their learning in that they will be delayed or unable to undertake it. It could also affect Educ8’s reputation, not just with the company involved but also other companies that may be linked, therefore this can affect further business and therefore the directors of Educ8. Learners tend to be, where possible, booked on to these workshops shortly after sign up to avoid this. However, sometimes it may be the case that the learner has to work and may need to cancel as the whole day of assessments is often a large commitment on their part as well as their employers'. They can therefore be booked on again easily in this time. The Welsh Government requirement makes it difficult for us to arrange two or three half days to complete them, which would be fairer to the learner due to the risk of them not being fully completed.At this stage, learners are often unaware of the existence of the essential skills qualifications that are attached to their QCF. They often assume that the assessments are complete and so are their essential skills qualifications, despite them being told to the contrary. This is being addressed by Educ8 currently, as it is felt that the essential skills qualifications are not sold within the package properly at the recruitment stage.