Monthly Archives: December 2012

BBC iPlayer – Why Poverty?: China’s Ant People

Functional Skills (FS) and online diagnostics.

A word of caution regarding online assessments/initial assessments/diagnostics and the like for FS. We (teachers) need to spend more time on interpretation and tutorial guidance with individual students once they have completed these tests. The timing is one issue. At the start of term many students do not appreciate the consequences for their studies and progression, and their understanding of the impact of the results is not as keen as it is later on (by which time it is often too late).
Another issue is the professional development of teachers. I still hear about teaching staff who mistake the process of engagement with FS with the funding imperative to enter students for FS qualifications. The first is about empowering young people to make the best of their potential, the second is often an arbitrary mechanism to maximise funding.
In my experience (co-ordinating Key Skills and Tutorials, administering online tests and working for many years with FE students) there is a continuing gap between the mechanical procedure timetabling, computer access etc) and the careful professional judgements and guidance following such instruments. Unless we integrate tutorial processes in a nuanced way then the well documented problems in FS will continue