Some background on the Sherwood Test Series
Learning providers are keen to address issues of recruitment, retention and achievement. There is a need to make early and informed judgements about learners skills so they can be guided appropriately and to ensure that valuable resources are targeted effectively. Most organisations use tests for both screening and diagnosis of strengths and learning needs prior to entry or soon after. The Sherwood Test Series consists of a set of short, centrally managed, computer-delivered tests and questionnaires that assess core skills, learning styles and work preferences. They can be used together or individually. The most popular tests in the series include:
- The Sherwood Ability Screen: The SAS is designed to quickly assess core literacy and numeracy skills. Assessment is based on the latest DfE and Ofqual criteria for functional and key skills and covers all levels. Literacy focuses on the ability to speak, listen and respond; read and comprehend; and write to communicate. While numeracy focuses on the ability to interpret numbers; calculate with numbers; and communicate with numbers. Learn more >>
- The Sherwood Technology Aptitude Test: The STAT assesses practical and theoretical ICT knowledge, the ability to use common applications, and the potential to acquire the skills necessary to use ICT effectively. Control of the mouse and keyboard are also tested. Assessment is based on the latest DfE and Ofqual criteria for functional and key skills and covers all levels. Learn More >>
The Sherwood Test Series offers a scalable screening solution for the initial assessment of large groups. As the Sherwood series are norm-based you can compare the same learner against more than one comparison group without the need to retest! Comparative reports quickly enable you to see how learners are performing against nationally recognised standards and other learners on the same course or other grouping code. All Sherwood tests are based on sound psychometric principles developed by Chartered Psychologists in conjunction with specialists in the education and training sectors. Most other "tests" on the market do not have this pedigree.
Why is the Sherwood Test Series better?
As the Sherwood series are norm-based you can compare the same learner against more than one comparison group without the need to retest! For example, if a learner wishes to embark on a level 2 course you can compare their post-test performance against levels 1, 2 and 3 as well against other local applicants. This gives a clearer relative measure of performance. It also saves the learner from completing four different tests, each at a different level. Numerous comparison groups ranging from Entry, Key Skills Level 1 through 4, to 'A2' and beyond exist.
Think about when you have received test results, e.g. school exams. How did you feel being told you scored 17 out of 30, or 65%? Usually one of the first questions asked is, “How did everyone else do?”, “Is that a good result in comparison with others in my group?”
A test score with no reference to other people in a group is somewhat meaningless. For example, a result of 25 out of 40 could be very good if the test was very difficult. If the test was very easy however it is not very good. To be able to interpret test results meaningfully, we compare individuals results against those obtained by an appropriate reference group. This is a key feature of norm referenced tests over traditional criterion referenced tests.
Why do learners and staff like Sherwood tests?
Learners like the tests as they're short, make use of real-world scenario-based questions and have attractive embedded graphics and sound. This makes them suitable for use with a wide range of learners. A self-paced tutorial also puts learners at ease as they are taken through what they need to do. The simple multiple choice interface makes answering a breeze.
Staff like the tests because the software is scalable to work with large numbers and is web-delivered. Its centralised tools are easily capable of managing many thousands quickly and reliably. Staff also like the fact the tests offer a reliable indication of a learners strengths and weaknesses. Group reports allow you to compare across a whole cohort of learners and against national standards simultaneously. Simple traffic light coding quickly alerts staff to any potential support need.
Thousands of learners to assess?
Our software seamlessly integrates with your own computerised systems with features for importing and exporting data from MIS and ILR systems. Organisations that have used the tests over the last decade have found the software to be highly robust and scalable enough to allow hundreds of learners to be tested simultaneously. To help ensure ease of implementation, on-site installation and free staff training are included in the price.
Paper & pencil too slow?
All tests in the series are delivered, scored and interpreted by our own specialised software. The software produces a range of customised reports, including detailed individual reports and reports across groups. Because of the unique Artificial Intelligence built into the reports processor, the software takes the strain out of interpretation. Results are available instantly at the press of a key from anywhere within your organisation!
A screen or diagnostic test?
Screening is essentially about getting an overall impression of the ability of a large number of learners. A good quality screen quickly identifies those who may need help. It is often a waste of valuable resources to use a finer-grain diagnostic tool on everyone. The Sherwood Test Series offers a scalable screening solution for the initial assessment of large groups in around 15 minutes. Screening should be your first step in any large-scale assessment process.
- Learners: To become aware of strengths and weaknesses
- Subject, Skills & Personal Tutors: To raise awareness of needs within teaching groups
- Programme Managers: To target resources effectively
- Learning Support Teams: To meet real learning needs
- Senior Managers: For resource planning and as a trigger for additional support funding
Screening should be the first step in any large-scale assessment process. The benefits of greater diagnostic detail may be relatively small. Only use tests where the quality is known. Don't be fooled by appearances: testing materials may be well presented without being rigorous or robust.