The : thinking tools to support academic staff in designing assessment & feedback

Principles of assessment

Assessment is an integral part of the learning process, required in order to:

  • judge performance, measured against intended learning outcomes.
  • determine whether progression to the next level is appropriate.
  • provide useful feedback, which indicates attainment but also areas for improvement.
  • identify what has not been understood, thus helping to inform evaluation of teaching methods and approaches.

Any assessment should be


Is there constructive alignment between the Programme Aims, the Intended Learning Outcomes of the module and the method and content of the assessment?

Reliable, fair and equitable

Are the marking criteria sufficiently robust to ensure reasonable parity between the judgements of different assessors? Do students understand the criteria by which their work is to be marked?


Does the assessment help the student to benchmark their current level of knowledge or skills, identify areas for improvement and come to a judgement about the overall progress made?


Is the assessment appropriately timed during a given unit of study to enable students to come to such judgements?


Is the assessment sufficiently challenging and rigorous to motivate students?

Efficient and manageable

Taking account of academic time, resource and space considerations, is the assessment practical and realistic?