What is Learning Oriented Assessment (LOA)?
The term Learning Oriented Assessment is one of several which have been used in recent years with a similar purpose in mind: to carve out a place for a form of assessment with different priorities and values from those of traditional assessment, with its focus on reliability and validity. Like the classroom-based assessment movement in the US, or the Assessment Reform Group’s promotion of formative assessment or Assessment for Learning in the UK, LOA proposes a form of assessment whose primary purpose is to promote learning.
Cambridge English approaches LOA from an assessment specialist perspective, taking a systemic view where assessment operates on multiple levels and takes many forms. It encompasses both the macro level of framing educational goals and evaluating outcomes, and the micro level of individual learning interactions which take place in the classroom or outside it – that is, both formal and informal assessment. The term LOA is chosen to emphasise that all levels of assessment can and should contribute to both the effectiveness of learning and the reliable evaluation of outcomes.
Our conception of LOA reflects an intention to change the traditional relationship of assessment to learning. The Cambridge model sets out to define a complementary relationship with teaching, based on a functional division between the dimensions of quantitative measurement (the domain of assessment expertise), and qualitative individualisation of approach to each learner (the domain of teaching expertise). LOA thus foresees a central role for teachers in creating an environment productive of learning, wholly complementary to the role of formal assessment.
An important goal and motivation in developing LOA is to shape the approach taken in situations where Cambridge English exams are adopted at institutional or national level within a programme of educational reform. LOA should serve as a theory of action for introducing formal assessment into a context of learning so as to achieve positive impact.
Cambridge English Empower takes learning-oriented approach
Cambridge English Empower is a new general adult course that combines course content from Cambridge University Press with validated Learning Oriented Assessment from Cambridge English.
The course syllabus is informed by English Profile and the Cambridge English Corpus and is carefully benchmarked to the CEFR ensuring that students encounter the most relevant and useful language at the right point in their learning.
The role of assessment in Cambridge English Empower is unique and its learning-oriented approach means that assessment constantly informs and enhances learning. This means that students make consistent and measurable progress.
Find out more about Cambridge English Empower
Find out more about LOA
You can watch a video explaining the stages of the LOA cycle, a recording of our signature event at IATEFL, or a webinar about how assessment can support learning.
Video: Learning Oriented Assessment: The different stages of the LOA cycle
Event: Cambridge English Signature event at IATEFL 2014
Webinar: How can assessment support learning? A Learning Oriented Approach
Read: Studies in Language Testing (SiLT) Vol. 45 gives further information on the key issues, principles and practices in LOA.