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 
  • Making a decision and providing feedback
  • 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 learning programme.

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 make a decision and 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. 

End-point assessment is the term used in apprenticeship programmes. The end-point assessor is independent from the person who has trained the apprentice, and only assesses at the end of the programme.

You can work towards a qualification in assessment if you wish or take an online module.

Scroll to the end of this page for resources regarding assessment.


Support for assessors

  • A reading list for assessment can be found by clicking here.
  • Resources to support teachers and learners of the assessment qualifications can be found by clicking here
  • End-point assessment resources can be found by clicking here
  • Online CPD modules for assessors can be found by clicking here.
  • Information regarding assessment qualifications can be found by clicking here.
  • Videos can be seen by clicking here.
  • Scroll to the end of this page for downloadable assessor resources and templates. 

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.

Assessment types and methods are used to help make a judgement about a learner's knowledge and performance. This can be towards the progress they are making, or to determine their achievements.

You can read a blog from TQUK about knowledge evidence here, performance evidence here and common assessment activities here.
Scroll to the end of this page for resources regarding assessment. 

Formal and informal assessment

Formal assessment means the results will count towards something, such as a qualification or an apprenticeship. 

Informal assessment helps you measure how your learners are progressing at a given point. It's also a way to plan for further learning and development.

You will need to plan ahead with your learners as to what will be assessed and when. The WWWWWH approach is useful:
  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How
Make sure you keep records of everything, to prove each learner's progress and achievement. Examples of assessment records (as templates) and completed examples are available in the resources section at the end of this page. Just scroll down until you see AT001 and A9059.

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 a 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.

See the list below for examples.

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 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 who are not supportive of assessment in the workplace, or are not good at communicating with the assessor regarding the learner's progress and achievements
  • 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 a learner's 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.

Making a decision and providing feedback

Once assessment has taken place, you will need to make a decision as to your learner's progress and achievements, and then provide feedback.

You must always remain objective, i.e. by making a decision based on your learner’s competence towards set criteria. You should not be subjective, i.e. by making a decision based on your own opinions or other factors such as your learner’s personality. When making a decision, you need to base it on everything you assess. If you are observing a learner’s skills, you could follow this up by asking questions to check their knowledge and understanding.

You may find, when assessing, that your learners haven’t achieved everything they should have. You need to base your decision on all the information and evidence available to you at the time. If your learner has not met all the requirements, you need to give constructive feedback, discuss any inconsistencies or gaps, and give advice on what they should do next. If your learner disagrees with the assessment process or your decision, they are entitled to follow your organisation’s appeals procedure. Don’t get too engrossed with your administrative work or form filling when making a decision, that you forget to inform your learner what they have achieved.

Feedback can be given informally, for example during a discussion, or formally after an assessment activity. Feedback can be verbal or written depending upon the type of assessment you have carried out. If you are with your learners, for example, observing an activity, you can give verbal feedback immediately (but do keep written records). If you are assessing work which has been handed in for marking, you can give written feedback later. Written can also mean electronically.

It's always useful to start by asking your learner how they think they have done. This gives them the opportunity to identify their own mistakes before you have to tell them. Comments which specifically focus on the activity or work produced, rather than the individual, will be more helpful and motivating to your learners.

The advantages of providing feedback are that it:

  • can boost your learner’s confidence and motivation
  • creates opportunities for clarification, discussion and progression
  • emphasises progress rather than failure
  • enables your learner to appreciate what they need to do to improve or change their practice
  • identifies further learning opportunities or actions required
  • informs your learner of what they have achieved.
You should always provide feedback in a way which will make it clear how your learner has met the requirements, what they have achieved (or not) and what they need to do next. 

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.

Handout -  Table of Assessment types (£1.50) (Ref A9050)


3 pages of information detailing over 40 different assessment types.

Template - Initial assessment (in Word) (£2.00) (Ref AT018B) 


2 page template with 10 initial assessment questions for potential applicants to complete. Can be used/adapted to gain information prior to learners commencing.


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.