The Transparency of Assessment in Practice Education (TAPE) Model

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The Transparency of Assessment in Practice Environments (TAPE) model was first designed following research into UK social work students’ experiences of assessment. The research concluded that not all students appeared to be aware of what constituted reasonable assessment practice and the model was constructed to facilitate open and ethical practice in assessment. 

The model can be used within any assessment relationship and can also be employed by an individual to support them to plan for an assessment they are going to undertake. The model can be used within any setting including but not limited to educational environments, the workplace and even with patients, clients and the recipients of a service. 

The TAPE model brings together the six Ws of assessment; why, when, who, what, where, and way, within a simple wheel formation diagram. Users are encouraged to be creative in using it and to adapt it to meet the needs of their own unique assessment situations. The model can be split up with one domain being considered at a time, used as a template to write or draw on, or the headings can be used to structure dialogue. Regardless of the manner of use, the aim is always to work towards ensuring transparency within the practice of assessment. 

It is recommended that you commence at ‘why’ because the purpose of assessment must be understood for the other five Ws to have meaning. Below are some prompts to help you reflect on your own assessment practice: 

  • Why assessment is taking place (to diagnose, recognise competence and capability, award a grade, identify need, judge quality)?
  • When is the most appropriate time to assess so that a reliable picture is formed of the individual’s strengths, abilities and needs? Are there timeframes imposed directing when the assessment is to be complete or can this be negotiated?
  • Who will be involved in the assessment, whose voice will be heard and how will that be represented within the assessment? There is an opportunity here to consider the power dynamics at play and also who can support each person involved in the assessment.
  • What is assessed and is considered of importance and of relevance to that particular assessment? Including what is not considered of importance and assessable.
  • Where will the assessment take place? This is an opportunity to consider environmental factors, access and resources.
  • The way an individual is assessed must be designed to measure that which is intended. The method of assessment will need to vary depending on what is being assessed, for example an exam tests knowledge but a practical task can assess skills. Also to consider is in what way will the outcome of the assessment be communicated?

In some assessment situations the six Ws may be predetermined with no opportunity to negotiate. However, in other situations there will be opportunity to empower the assessed person to negotiate, make choices and share responsibility within the assessment. For example, they could be supported to make choices about who will be asked for feedback, the timeframe of assessment and even the ways they will be assessed. The TAPE model can also be used to focus attention onto the support needs of the assessor and the assessed:

  • Why do you need support (what are the challenges and risks)?
  • When do you need support (are there specific periods of vulnerability)?
  • Who is the best person (or service) to offer that support and who is going to make the approach (a referral may be required)?
  • What specifically do you need support with, what are you requiring of the other person or service?
  • Where do you require support and where can this support be obtained (this may be physical resources, environments, places or time)?
  • In what way will this be provided and in what way will you recognise that appropriate support has been provided and is meeting need?

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