“Ongoing assessment has to do with [learning]
activity that occurs continuously. [It] has less
to do with written reports and far more to do with the interactive,
dynamic roles of
both teachers and learners. It has to do with responding
to learners' questions
every day and with actively noting the kinds of questions
learners ask, the ways in which learners respond to print and oral
the kinds of mistakes they make, the ways in which
they go about correcting their own mistakes, and the ways in which
correct them. This kind of ongoing observation and
assessment is inseparable from good teaching practice. Janet Isserlis”
Ongoing assessment can be defined as assessment that happens
at any point after the initial assessment and before the exit assessment.
It allows both the instructor and the student to examine the progress towards
the short-term goal, what changes need to be made and how well the training
plan reflects the current situation. Ongoing assessment usually involves
both formal and informal components. It should be done with the student,
not to the student.
Informal assessment can include something as simple as asking, “How’s
it going?” or an impromptu review of a learner’s work. Formal
assessment includes planned for and assigned activities, tests and demonstrations.
You can find more information about demonstrations in the next section.
The Ottawa-Carleton Coalition for Literacy’s Handbook for Literacy
Tutors (http://www.occl.ca/pubs/ongoing/ongoingI/Module1.pdf) provides the following
suggestions that can help you plan for and incorporate both formal and
informal assessment activities into all aspects of lesson planning and
teaching. Although this resource was developed for literacy tutors, it
contains excellent information that is also useful for paid instructors.
- Break goals into manageable chunks; build success into
- Decide what the learner will achieve in each lesson.
- Plan a variety of activities to include more than one skill in
- Build on skills the learner already has.
- Review concepts that were new or difficult the last time
you worked together.
- Explain what the current lesson is about and why.
- Relate new materials to past experiences.
- Don’t introduce too many new things at once.
- Let the learner set the pace.
- Share successes.
- Make it fun!
- Make notes about what went well and what didn’t go so well.
- Encourage the learner to keep notes too.
- Review what you accomplished – did you achieve what you set
out to do?
- Review what you will need to do next.
You will also need to determine a way to track and document student progress.
This can include checklists of mastered skills, anecdotal documentation
of observed progress and self-assessments completed by the student. This
step will help ensure that students know they have made progress and have
concrete evidence to prove it. This evidence is important to the student
as well as to the program!
In Assessing and Evaluating Literacy Learning (2004), Paul and Kennedy
discuss a number of tools that can be used for ongoing assessment, including
portfolios, journal writing, peer evaluation and progress reports. This
resource is available to students enrolled in the Adult Literacy Educator
program offered at a number of Ontario colleges. You can find out more about the Teacher of Adults: Literacy Educator Certificate program at http://www.adultliteracyeducator.com/about.htm.