Diagnostic Assessment within the Skills for Life Strategy

Julie Sewell

01 June 2004

This paper outlines the development and application of diagnostic assessment materials for adult learners in the UK, focusing primarily on speakers of English as a second or other language (ESOL). The background to the development of these materials is briefly examined in relation to those groups involved and in the context of national standards and the core curriculum. Trials of the materials involved 100 learners drawn from different institutions, for each level at entry levels 1-3 and levels 1-2 of the national qualifications framework, with ESOL learners offered more open writing tasks. Details of diagnostic assessment tasks, marking schemes, and methods used for identifying both progression and attainment targets are outlined with examples given and results analysed in some depth. Conclusions cite statistical evidence which appears to relate general improvements in functional literacy and numeracy, including ESOL learners, to this strategic approach.

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