Facilitating learning in practice
Facilitating learning in practice

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Facilitating learning in practice

2 Types of assessment

There are many forms of assessment, but the main three domains identified within educational literature are diagnostic (initial), formative and summative assessment (Figure 1).

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Figure 1 The three domains of assessment

There is a wealth of literature concerning assessment and assessment frameworks. Suggested reading materials are listed at the end of this week if you would like to learn more about this area.

These three domains of assessment are defined as follows:

  • Diagnostic assessment – This is completed when a student begins a specific stage of learning (or placement period) and can initially involve a student self-assessment and a SLOT analysis to assess the strengths, limitations, opportunities and threats relating to the student’s current knowledge, skills and attitudes. It can also include initial observations of the student delivering nursing or health care, discussions on particular areas of practice, and preliminary questioning, in order to give a baseline on which to build and develop action plans and learning strategies.
  • Formative assessment – This relates to continuous assessment and incorporates regular feedback sessions that are planned throughout the specified time allocated in the learning environment. It gives an opportunity to identify areas of strength and areas that need to be improved, with subsequent action plans developed. It is a method that can be used to monitor progress and provide immediate and ongoing feedback within daily learning experiences. This can also include continuous portfolios of evidence that indicate reflections on learning experiences.
  • Summative assessment – This is usually a more formal process that is designed to assess specific learning outcomes or criteria at a given point in the student’s learning, usually at the end of a period of study (or placement period). This may be an assignment, examination, objective-structured clinical examination, question and answer discussion, observation, portfolio of evidence, or performance indicators including skills and competencies.

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