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Assessment of learning needs- Definition, purposes, principles


Assessment for learning occurs at all stages of the learning process. In classrooms where assessment for learning is practiced, students know at the outset of a unit of study what they are expected to learn. At the beginning of the unit, the teacher will work with the student to understand what she or he already knows about the topic as well as to identify any gaps or misconceptions (initial/diagnostic assessment).


NEED: A need refers to the gap between what is and what could or should be within a particular context leading to strategies aimed at eliminating gap between what is and what should or could be.

Needs assessment is a process for determining and addressing needs, or “gaps” between current conditions and desired conditions, often used for improvement projects in education/training.

Learning-Learning is acquiring new knowledge,  behaviors,  skills,  values, preferences or understanding, and may involve synthesizing different types of information.

Assessment of learning needs- A working definition of Assessment of learning needs is

“the term ‘assessment of learning needs’ refers to all those activities undertaken by teachers and their students in assessing themselves, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged. ”

Types of Assessment

  • Diagnostic assessment
  • Formative assessment
  • Summative assessment

Principles of  assessment for learning

Among the most comprehensive listing of principles of assessment for learning are those written by the QCA (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority).The Uk Assessment Reform Group (1999) identifies THE BIG 5 PRINCIPLES OF ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING

  1. The provision of effective feedback to students.
  2. The active involvement of students in their own learning.
  3. Adjusting teaching to take account of the results of assessment.
  4. Recognition of the profound influence assessment has on the motivation and self esteem of pupils, both of which are critical influences on learning.
  5. The need for students to be able to assess themselves and understand how to improve.

Purposes for conducting learning needs assessment

  • It might seem self evident that the need to learn should underpin (Support) any educational system.
  • The literature suggests that learning is more likely to lead to change in practice when needs assessment has been conducted as the education is linked to practice, personal incentive drives the educational effort, and there is some reinforcement of the learning.
  • The main purpose of needs assessment must be to help educational planning.
  • Learning in a profession is unlike any other kind of.  Health care professionals live in a rich learning environment, constantly involved in and surrounded by professional interaction and conversation, educational events, information, and feedback.