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6 Considerations of Assessment

When planning assessments, there are SIX

main considerations which you need to think about:
1. WHY am I assessing these students? What effects or
outcomes do I expect the assessment to produce? Is
this assessment Formative or Summative?
2. WHAT am I going to assess? Exactly what evidence of
student learning am I looking for? What must I assess,
and what could I leave out?
3. WHEN am I going to assess the students on this course?

4. HOW am I going to assess? Of all the methods that are

available, what will be the best for this particular
teaching group, on this course, at this particular
time? What would be fair, and give accurate and
truthful information about my students?
5. How am I going to INTERPRET, or make sense of, the
results of the assessment?
6. How am I going to give FEEDBACK about the results of
the assessment to the students (and possibly to other

There are many reasons why we assess student learning:
the following list contains a number of reasons- can you
add to the list?
1. To identify where to start working with a group, by assessing existing levels of
knowledge or understanding
2. To identify and clarify student learning difficulties and plan appropriate remedial or
supportive action for them.
3. To assess whether students are ready to go on to new areas of a sequential
4. To check on your teaching success and as a result, possibly adjust your
5. To grade students
6. To facilitate and / or reinforce learning
7. To test student understanding or skill
8. To motivate students and enhance their self-esteem
9. To provide feedback to students; to provide information to parents, employers,
universities, to management, to society in general.
10. To maintain standards
11. To predict future performance


In simple terms, you must ensure that ALL of your
assessment activities are ALWAYS related to:
The aims and objectives of the course, or part of it, that you
are assessing
The methodology which was used on the course by the
The learning methods which were experienced by the
students on the course

Assessment should take place
at all stages in a programme.

At Entry or Pre - Entry Stage:

Some testing may be necessary at Entry or Pre-Entry
Stage to assess potential students existing level of
knowledge, understanding or aptitude for a particular
course. Such assessment if often called Diagnostic
Diagnostic Tests are often strongly graded in terms of
difficulty of questions, with easily achievable questions
to start with, building in complexity as the test progresses.
Good diagnostic tests will always remain straightforward
in design and operation in order not to alarm or demotivate potential students before they have even signed
up for the course!

On Programme:
Formative assessment should take place at intervals
throughout any taught programme. (Such testing is
often, wrongly, called continuous assessment, but
intermittent, regular or planned assessment would
be more accurate terms).
Formative assessment is intended to:
monitor student progress and suggest areas for
evaluate your teaching success
discover student potential
select students for new groups, courses, programmes
The essential feature of formative assessment is that it
allows you to give feedback to your students.

At Exit Stage:
Summative assessment takes place - the final
examination, submission of assignments, portfolio of
evidence of achievement, oral examination etc.
The two main areas of feedback to students at this stage
are in the issuing of their final grades and, depending on the
circumstances, the possible discussion with the student
about future progression onto other, perhaps higher level,