This page covers:

  • What is assessment?
  • Support for assessors
  • Assessment types and methods
  • Formal and informal assessment
  • The use of technology
  • Minimising risks when carrying out assessment activities
  • Situations which could pose a risk to assessment 
  • Initial assessment weblinks
  • Assessment resources for immediate download

What is assessment?

Assessment is a way of finding out if learning has taken place. It enables you to ascertain if your learner has gained the required skills, knowledge, understanding and/or attitudes and behaviours needed at a given point in time, towards their programme of learning.

Assessment also provides your learners with an opportunity to demonstrate what progress they have made and what they have learnt so far. If you don’t plan for and carry out any assessment with your learners, you will not know how well, or what they have learnt.

Assessment is not another term for evaluation; assessment is of the learners whereas evaluation is of the programme.

You are therefore constantly making judgements and you should also be aware of the impact that your comments and grades can have on your learners’ confidence when you give feedback. Comments which specifically focus on the activity or work produced, rather than the individual, will be more helpful and motivating to your learners. 

Support for assessors

  • Reading lists for assessment can be found by clicking here.
  • Resources to support teachers and learners of the assessment qualifications can be found by clicking here
  • Information regarding assessment qualifications can be found by clicking here.
  • Videos regarding assessment can be seen by clicking here.
  • Scroll to the end of this page for downloadable assessor resources.

The following text is adapted from the book in the picture.

Assessment types and methods

Assessment types include initial (at the beginning), formative (ongoing) and summative (at the end). You will find a few initial assessment links at the end of this page. Assessment types relate to the purpose of assessment ie the reason assessment is carried out. Assessment methods are the activities used to assess ongoing progress as well as achievement; for example, questions, discussions, observations, tests and assignments.

All assessment methods should be suited to the level and ability of your learners. A level 1 learner might struggle to write a journal; a level 2 learner may not be mature enough to accept peer feedback; a level 3 learner may feel a puzzle is too easy, and so on.

Formal and informal assessment

Formal assessment means the results will count towards something, such as a qualification. Informal assessment helps you determine how your learners are progressing at a given point.

The use of technology

Technology can be combined with traditional methods of assessment; for example, learners can complete a written assignment by word-processing their response and submitting it by e-mail or uploading it to a virtual learning environment (VLE) or cloud based application.

Combining methods of assessment also promotes differentiation and inclusivity; for example, learners could access and complete assessment activities online to test knowledge but be observed in person to assess performance.

Minimising risks when carrying out assessment activities

If your role involves the assessment of learning, whether in a classroom, the workplace or another setting, there are often risks involved. 

These risks don’t always relate to health, safety and welfare, but to the assessment process and the decisions made.

Situations which could pose a risk to assessment

 (in alphabetical order)

  • a lack of confidence by the assessor to make correct decisions
  • a lack of standardisation activities leading to one assessor giving more of an advantage to a learner than another assessor of the same subject
  • a learner copying another learner’s work
  • a learner’s lack of confidence or resistance to be assessed
  • an assessor not taking into account a learner’s particular needs
  • an unsuitable environment for assessment to take place
  • answers to questions being obtained inappropriately by learners which leads to cheating
  • assessing relatives or not disclosing conflicts of interest
  • assessing written work too quickly and not noticing errors, plagiarism or cheating
  • assessors giving learners the answers or doing some of the work for them
  • assessors using inappropriate assessment activities
  • assessors using leading questions to obtain the correct answers they require
  • assessors visiting unfamiliar places and under pressure to arrive by a certain time therefore rushing an assessment activity
  • awarding organisations prescribing assessment methods which might not complement the qualification, a learner’s needs or the learning environment
  • changes to qualifications or standards not being interpreted correctly by assessors, or not being communicated to assessors by others
  • employers not supportive of assessment in the workplace, or are not good at communicating with the assessor
  • favouritism and bias by an assessor towards some learners over others
  • feedback to the learner which is unhelpful or ineffective
  • high turnover of staff resulting in inconsistent support to learners
  • ineffective internal quality assurance system
  • instructions too complex or too easy for the learners’ ability
  • insufficient or incorrect action/assessment planning
  • internal and external quality assurance action points not being correctly communicated to those concerned, or not carried out
  • lack of resources or time to perform the assessment role correctly
  • learners creating a portfolio of evidence which is based on quantity rather than quality, i.e. submitting too much evidence which does not meet the requirements
  • learners not registered with an awarding organisation prior to being assessed for a qualification
  • learners submitting the work of others as their own
  • learners using quotes from others when answering theory questions and not referencing them, leading to plagiarism
  • marking and grading carried out incorrectly by assessors
  • misinterpreting the assessment requirements and/or criteria (by learners and assessors)
  • pressure on assessors to pass learners quickly due to funding and targets
  • time pressures and targets put upon learners
  • unreliable witness testimonies from the workplace
  • unsuitable assessment methods i.e. an observation when questions would suffice
  • unsuitable assessment types i.e. summative being used instead of formative
  • unwelcome disruptions and interruptions when assessing, such as noise or telephone calls.

Assessment resources available for immediate download

Information Leaflet - Key Concepts and Principles of Assessment (£1.50)
(Ref A9001) 
7 pages covering: • Why should assessment take place? • The key concepts of assessment • Principles of assessment • VARCS & SMART • Role & responsibilities of an assessor • Regulations & legislation relating to assessment • Policies and procedures • Reading list • Website list 

Handout – Table of Assessment Methods & Activities: Strengths and Limitations (£2.50)
(Ref A9051)
14 pages of information detailing over 45 different assessment methods & activities, along with the strengths and limitations of each.

Information leaflet - Involving Learners and Others in the Assessment Process (£1.50)
(Ref G9009)
5 pages containing covering • How to involve learners in the assessment process • Self assessment: examples, advantages and limitations  • Peer assessment: examples, advantages and limitations  • Questioning • Involving others in the assessment process • Sources of information • Reading list • Website list 

Information leaflet - Making Assessment Decisions and Providing Feedback (£1.50)
(Ref A9005) 
6 pages covering: • How to make a decision • Factors influencing decisions • Appeals and complaints • What is feedback? • Different feedback methods • How to provide feedback • Feedback hints • Reading list • Website list 

Information leaflet - Record Keeping (£1.50)
(Ref G9006)
3 pages containing covering • Reasons for record keeping • Examples of records • Data Protection • Confidentiality • Freedom of Information Act (2000) • Assessment records • Examples of assessment records • Reading list • Website list
(See below for sample records and completed examples)

Templates – A full set of assessment records (in Word) (£3.00)
Can be used by assessors who do not have their own assessment record system
(Ref AT001)
5 templates in Word (with instructions) for you to amend to suit your own requirements: initial & diagnostic assessment, action plan, assessment plan, feedback and action record, assessment tracking sheet. They can easily be amended to suit your own requirements.
Completed examples are available to purchase below: Ref A9059

Completed example of a full set of assessment records (£4.00)
(Ref A9059) 
5 completed examples of initial & diagnostic assessment, action plan, assessment plan, feedback and action record, assessment tracking sheet.
A set of blank templates in Word is available to purchase above: Ref AT001

  • Reading lists for assessment can be found by clicking here.
  • Resources to support teachers and learners of the assessment qualifications can be found by clicking here.
  • Information regarding assessment qualifications can be found by clicking here. 
  • Videos regarding assessment can be seen by clicking here.
You can read my blog regarding the basics of assessment on the Cambridge Assessment website.

More resources are available, 

click here for details.