Analyse the role and use of initial and diagnostic assessment in agreeing individual learning goals

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Initial assessments can be used to assess the current level of the student before they begin studying a course or begin a new school year. They are also used to find out whether the course is a suitable one for the student. The results of this test can be later referenced if the ability of the student comes into question. 

The initial assessment can take different forms and may include an interview to enquire about the attitudes and motivation levels of the student. This makes the initial assessment a key part of the teaching process because as an educator one must know how each student differs from the next. Knowledge of these differences allows you to tailor your approach to the development of the students under your care in their respective learning journeys.

Diagnostic assessment informs both teacher and learner of current abilities and specific future needs.” (Machin, et al., 2016, p. 94) Diagnostic assessments are utilized after the initial assessment, they are used to gain a better understanding of the academic ability that students have. They can take many forms; some examples include textbook pre-course tests and questionnaires. 

Teachers may also want to create their own diagnostics, while this can be advantageous as you can tailor the test to your specific needs, it is generally more time consuming. This form of assessment is key because it allows students and teachers to understand areas which are strengths for the student and more importantly areas can be considered weaknesses. This will then mean you can sit with the student and set achievable goals for the future on a termly and yearly basis. 

When agreeing individual learning goals both initial and diagnostic assessments are vital as they provide the basis to move forward and identify what can be achieved by the student. From there plans can be made as to how the achievement of these set target is to come about. For example, a student may have trouble with tenses in the English language so their target may be to do a certain number of practice questions on this topic from their textbook each week.

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