Making Assessments Acheiveable With These 2 Simple Tips
We are now seeing qualifications, like apprenticeships, being utilised across organisations for new and existing staff alike, and much is being made of the assessed elements of these qualifications.
They are, by and large, the least popular parts of the programme for learners, which comes as no surprise as they can be time-consuming and require self-motivation and effort. Apprentices may also lack confidence in their ability to complete them or may not have completed assessments in many years.
The good news is that there are ways to tailor assessments to make them relevant, manageable and very achievable.
- Tailor them to the learner’s actual work
Apprenticeships are work-based learning programmes, so instead of asking apprentices to sit down and write theoretical pieces of work around the content they are covering, we can align the assessments with their actual duties.
For instance, on our Leadership Apprenticeships, after training and coaching our learners on how to conduct effective appraisals, instead of asking them to write an assignment on this then, we ask them to go out to their teams and conduct their appraisals using the new tools and skills that we have given them. We then ask the learner to document evidence of this and reflect on how the new skills helped. Simple, relevant and all handled as part of the learner’s job.
- Show them examples of academic work
Learners may not have been involved in academia for quite some time, merely explaining an assignment to them may not suffice and could leave them with more questions than answers. It is all about explaining things in straightforward terms and using examples to illustrate the point. Of course, we avoid examples of other assessments to avoid plagiarism!
For instance - on our Management Apprenticeships, we also offer the option to complete a CMI Certificate for learners to gain an additional qualification if they so choose, at no extra cost. The certification mandates that they complete 2x three thousand word assignments; these are academic pieces of work. We have found the most success in just showing people what a similar assignment looks like, on another topic, of course. The example reminds them of the structure of assignments, the ways of making and evidencing a point or debating a topic, and crucially, what three thousand words even looks like on paper! It is easy to underestimate how vital these reminders are; hence learners can get a little nervous about them if they go in without assistance.
Using these two simple tips can get rid of any nerves learners have around their assessments and ensure that they are being assessed on relevant, real-life activities to build their confidence and skills in the subject area. It will also drive up engagement in the programme from both the wider organisation and the learners themselves as the assessments will not be seen as time wasted, but instead, as activities that provide a real benefit back to their colleagues.