CAN FOCUSING ON LITERACY IMPROVE CONTROLLED ASSESSMENTS (Author’s name) (Institutional Affiliation) Abstract Controlled assessments provide students/pupils with an opportunity to sharpen their oral and written skills in the context of themes that are interesting to them…
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In short, well-designed controlled assessments show education professionals what not do; how not to prepare and present the test (Doyle 2008, pg. 22). Literacy is a critical aspect of controlled assessments because oral and writing skills play a huge role in pupils’ ability to understand and solve the challenges posed in controlled assessments. In this paper, I will explore the impact of literacy on controlled assessments and how literacy can be used to influence controlled assessments. Key Words Controlled assessments; literacy; language learning Introduction Coursework has been replaced by controlled assessments at GCSE level. Controlled assessments currently form part of assessment schemes in most subjects, and differs from coursework with respect to the conditions under which they are administered. Unlike coursework, controlled assessments are usually developed under conditions that are closely supervised. In some subjects this may equate to writing up the final part in class over one or more classroom sessions monitored by teachers. This may have to be done under exam conditions (Tileston 2004, pg. 35). Any violation of normal exam regulations can have grave consequences on pupils’ academic lives. Supporting materials like notes (not complete drafts) can be used when writing up. Teachers are usually expected to provide learners with information on how controlled assessments are done in their subjects. Discussion Before I begin my discussion, I would like to take a stand and state that focusing on literacy can actually improve controlled assessments. Literacy basically entails speaking and writing skills, and these two abilities significantly influence the outcomes of controlled assessments. For both teachers and learners, controlled assessments come with different facets that must all be satisfied before the entire process is deemed successful to any extent. These facets include the following: planning; finding; selection; analysis; presentation; and self-evaluation (Doyle 2008, pg. 46). All these aspects must be addressed by teachers and learners before and during the controlled assessments and they require sufficient levels of literacy to be dealt with successfully. Learners with very low literacy levels will most definitely find controlled assessments more challenging compared to those who are sufficiently literate. This breeds failure and leads to the development of a bad attitude towards controlled assessments. Individuals naturally have different abilities, and therefore differences in speaking and writing skills will automatically arise. In spite of this, teachers have a responsibility to give all learners the opportunity to develop and perfect their literacy skills (Huot 2002, pg. 58). This way, chances of success in controlled assessments are significantly increased. In other words, poor speaking and writing skills negatively automatically compromise the success of controlled assessments even before they commence. Plagiarism is a huge problem not only in controlled assessments but also in examinations. It is condemned and abhorred by teachers and educational institutions, but is yet to be eradicated. Statistics provided by the United States Department of Education reveal that plagiarism and cheating, though problematic in most educational institutions, are most prevalent in learners with poor speaking and written skills (Torrance 2012, pg. 28). This is because they find it hard to read, understand, and
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