Assessment tools and approaches

There are two different types of assessment - task assessment and evidence assessment. As an assessor, you can provide learners with a specific task to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in relation to the outcomes of an assessment standard, or you can provide them with an evidence guide so they can sift through work they’ve already done to find something (or a range of things) that matches all the outcomes/criteria specified.

Usually, a task is provided to a ‘learner’, whereas an evidence guide may be given to a more experienced candidate. Both types of assessment can be used in provider and workplace settings.

Whether it's by task or evidence, assessment can involve a variety of methods and approaches (appropriate to the learner and the context) that give the learner the opportunity to show competence/achievement. Some examples are:

Oral evidence+ Written evidence

- Presentation

- Oral answers to questions

- Oral feedback

- Speech

- Interview

- Peer instruction sessions

- Workplace documentation

- Checklists

- Portfolio

- Worksheets

- Forms

- Booklets

- Reports

- Charts and posters

- Tables

- Assignments

- Fill in gaps*

- Match information*

- Multi-choice*

- Written questions

- User manuals


Feedback (usually documented and signed) from:

- Teachers

- Support staff

- Supervisors/managers

- Peers

Other Practical evidence

- Cross-referencing from other assessments

- Recognition of current competence

- Integrated assessment (see below)

- Observation – one-off occasions, or over a period of time

- Simulations

- Real life situations

- Demonstrations

- Video/Audio tapes

- Posters

- Graphics

- Projects

- Visual representation

- Models

- Naturally occurring evidence

* Not suitable for use where an outcome/achievement criteria call for learners to describe.

+ Oral evidence needs to have clear evidence and judgement statements describing acceptable answers, and the oral evidence needs to be documented in some form.


Verification, where evidence is documented and signed by verifier and/or assessor, is particularly valid where the assessment and gathering of evidence is based on demonstration of practical competence, or is naturally occurring over a period of time.

Verification can be provided by any person who:

  • works closely with the candidate
  • has sufficient relevant subject expertise
  • understands the requirements of the particular assessment.

For example, a verifier could be the workplace supervisor or manager, and the assessor could be a teacher/tutor/workplace assessor.

Note: The assessor, not the verifier, is responsible for the final judgement decision.

Portfolio assessment

A portfolio is particularly appropriate for assessing the more creative areas of learning, especially in visual communication. It is a collection of evidence to support assessment against standards or learning outcomes. Portfolios can come in a range of types and sizes. For example, it can be electronic (a CD or a website address), a kete containing evidence gathered throughout a course, or a display file of mounted work.

When assessment occurs in the workplace, or as part of a longer course, the candidate may have many opportunities to demonstrate the skills/understanding required to achieve the assessment standard. In this case, rather than having the candidate complete a ‘redundant’ assessment task, a portfolio of evidence can be provided to demonstrate their competence.

The assessor should provide an assessment checklist, listing the evidence requirements for the standard. The evidence should be put together by the candidate in a way that makes it easy for the assessor to match it to the outcomes/achievement criteria of the assessment standard.

Assessment standards often require evidence of planning and design, documentation and evaluation. It is important that this evidence is included in some way; for example, in a visual diary.

Integrated assessment

Assessment standards lend themselves to integrated assessment. This is where related or complementary outcomes/achievement criteria can be assessed using the same task or evidence.

Integration of assessment has several advantages. It reduces the time spent on assessment, and facilitates a more holistic approach.

Integrated assessment can also pose some challenges, especially in a situation when candidates enter a programme having already achieved standards that are part of an assessment cluster in their chosen course of study. Decisions about whether to integrate assessment or not will be strongly influenced by the context of assessment and the experience of the assessor.

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