Kesler, Dotlin (2019) What Is the Purpose of Initial and Diagnostic Assessment in an FE College? Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The main aim of this research study was to explore the purpose of diagnostic assessment in an FE College. In order to do this, I explored and analysed the views and perceptions from tutors from an FE College in the north of England. This case study research used semi-structured, focus group interviews and Teacher Perception of Courses to obtain views about initial and diagnostic assessment from FE tutors. In particular it firstly, identified the different types of diagnostic assessment that tutors use, not only in terms of their purpose, but also in terms of the differences between tutors. Secondly it explored the ways in which tutors use initial, diagnostic and summative assessment tools to guide student learning, needs, achievement and their own pedagogy. Thirdly, it analysed what tutors considered to be the most effective methods in ensuring that students achieve their goals or targets and also explored some of the constraints which tutors might face in implementing the strategies in the course of their duties. Fourthly, it analysed the impact that organisational cultures and policy has on the performativity and professional identity of tutors in an FE College. The findings of the study strongly suggest that more collaboration between SFL and vocational tutors is the key to ensuring that student progress is ensured as the data suggest that when an holistic approach is adopted students will make better progress.

It is well documented that good diagnostic assessment strategies will help students to achieve their goals, and this research study confirms this.

This study employed the social learning theory of community of practice (Wenger (1998) where learning is most productive when it takes place in the context and culture where it occurs as opposed to classroom instructional learning. In this way, Wenger, (1998) argue that the teacher is engaged in a ‘community of practice’ where learning is socially constructed. Teaching and learning communities, especially small groups, help to provide extensive support to teachers who are able to regularly meet together in order to explore their own practice. In order to gain ‘deeper learning’ the novice learner’s aim is to move to the centre of the community where they become gradually more active and engaged as they become more knowledgeable and expert.

FINAL THESIS - Kesler.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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