In this report I shall be considering the role of quality assurance (QA) and quality improvement (QI) processes within the Advanced Massage Course I wish to focus on how these processes relate to the process of assessment for both students and tutors. QA is used in all areas of work from Hospital Procedures to Manufacturing processes, it can be defined as ‘a systematic process of verifying that a product or service being developed is meeting specified requirements’ (Dept. of Health, 2009).
Newcastle College has clear, well defined and comprehensive QA processes, including monitoring, external verification. Working with other institutions and internal verification and audits. The overall Q. A. framework is illustrated in the diagram attached I would like to focus on the area of the diagram which relates to assessment. Student Assessment The tutor is responsible for setting out a framework of assessment which includes assessment of written work and practical work.
According to the Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) standards these should ‘produce valid, reliable and sufficient evidence’ (EP 2. ) and that these methods should be applied ‘fairly and effectively’ (EP 2. 1). The assessment methods used on the course include ongoing formative assessments, such as observation of practical skills and regular coursework assignments which create a portfolio of evidence, and final summative assessments, such as a practical exam where the students demonstrate their ability to carry out a massage which is effective and follows the guidelines set out throughout their period of learning.
Written assignments, are designed to have validity, currency, authenticity and sufficiency. Validity means they should accurately reflect the learning they are designed to measure, currency requires that they reflect current knowledge. Authenticity means they must be actually produced by the student concerned, and that they sufficiently cover the assessment criteria. A wide the range of assessment tools are used throughout the course, this will ensure the assessment data gathered is more valid.
For example, although written assignments which are completed by a student in their own time may raise questions of authenticity as we have no way of knowing if it is all their own work. When we observe a student’s practical work in class we can be sure we are getting the full picture of the student’s ability. Some students can perform better in certain types of assessment than others, so the practice of using a range of assessment tools can give all students the opportunity to be fully assessed according to their individual skills.
Tutor Assessment Tutors are assessed by Internal and external observations and must also maintain regular continued professional development (CPD) throughout the year, so that their knowledge and skills are kept up to date, it will also help tutors to bring in new ideas and skills into their work. As professionals we collaborate with our colleagues’ and those in the industry which also ensures we are working as part of a team rather than in isolation.
The students will often assess each other when performing massage this peer assessment relates to domain E of the LLUK standards, this fits in with requirement ES 3 for ‘learner involvement and shared responsibility in the assessment process’ as well as EK 3. 1, that ‘teachers know and understand ways to establish learner involvement in and personal responsibility for assessment of their learning’. By using a range of assessment methods we can ensure we are being inclusive and allow each student an opportunity to be assessed in a way which best suits them.
To conclude, we use many methods of assessment to ensure the quality of our teaching and the learning experience is as high as possible. This includes how we assess ourselves our organisation and our students. We must never lose sight of the importance of feedback and we must always be prepared to collaborate with relevant organisations and our colleagues, we should work as part of a team to improve our practice, to always aspire to produce an excellent learning experience for all of our students. We must use a range of assessment methods which will reflect the different needs of our students.