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Formality and informality in the summative assessment of motor vehicle apprentices: a case study

Colley, Helen and Jarvis, Janis (2007) Formality and informality in the summative assessment of motor vehicle apprentices: a case study. policy and practice, 14 (3). pp. 295-314. ISSN 0969-594X

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Abstract

This article explores the interaction of formal and informal attributes of competence-based assessment. Specifically, it presents evidence from a small qualitative case study of summative assessment practices for competence-based qualifications within apprenticeships in the motor industry in England. The data are analysed through applying an adaptation of a framework for exploring the interplay of formality and informality in learning. This analysis reveals informal mentoring as a significant element which influences not only the process of assessment, but also its outcomes. We offer different possible interpretations of the data and their analysis, and conclude that, whichever interpretation is adopted, there appears to be a need for greater capacity-building for assessors at a local level. This could acknowledge a more holistic role for assessors; recognise the importance of assessors' informal practices in the formal retention and achievement of apprentices; and enhance awareness of inequalities that may be reinforced by both informal and formal attributes of assessment practices.

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