Terminologies related with types of Assessment

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Assessment gives measure of learning at a given point of time. Relevant skills, knowledge and/or attitudes can be measured towards a subject or qualification. There are many different assessment methods, including tests, exams, assignments, observation, etc. There are also different types of assessment. They will usually be stated in the syllabus. A useful reference table is provided below to make you familiar with different types of assessments. You may be familiar with some types such as initial, formative and summative. You may not be similar with other terms such as ipsative, criterion referencing or norm referencing. The table below can help you in exploring various types of assessment to enable you to make relevant choices so that you can use a particular type in a particular situation.

The table given below summarizes the various terms related to different types of Assessment.

Academic Assessment of theory and knowledge
Aptitude A diagnostic test to assess your learner’s ability for a particular vocation
Assessor led Assessment is planned and carried out by the assessor, for example an observation.
Benchmarking A way of evaluating learners’ performance against an accepted standard. Once a standard is set, it can be used as a basis for the expectations of achievements within other groups/learners.
Competence based Can do statements that learners need to perform, for example National Vocational Qualification NCQ performance criteria.
Criterion referencing Assessing what your learner must achieve to meet a certain standard.
Diagnostic A specific assessment relating to a particular topic or subject and level, which builds on initial assessment. Sometimes called a skills scan. The results determine what need to be learnt or assessed in order to progress further.

Some type of diagnostic assessments can also identify learners with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, etc.

Direct Evidence provided by your learner towards their qualification, for example work products.
Evidence Assessment is based upon items your learner provides to prove their competence
External Assessments set and marked externally by the relevant Awarding/ Examining body
Formal Assessments which involves the recognition and recording of achievement
Formative Ongoing, interim or continuous assessment. Can be used to assess skills and/or knowledge in a progressive way, to build on topics learnt and plan future learning and assessments. Often referred to as assessment for learning, allowing further learning to take place
Holistic Assessing several aspects of a qualification at the same time
Independent An aspect of the qualification is assessed by someone who has not been involved with your learner for any other part of their training or assessment
Indirect Evidence provided by others regarding your learner’s progress, for example a witness testimony from a workplace supervisor
Informal Assessment can take place, for example, questioning during a review of progress with your learner, or an observation during a group activity
Initial Assessment at the beginning of a programme or unit, relating to the subject being learnt and assessed, to identify your learner’s starting point and level. Initial assessment can also include learning styles tests, and literacy, numeracy and ICT tests. The latter can be used as a basis to help and support learners
Integrated Information required in a learning context is put into practice and assessed in your learner’s workplace
Internal Assessments carried out within an organization, either internally set and marked, or externally set by the relevant Awarding/ Examining body and internally marked
Ipsative A process of self-assessment. Learners match their own achievements against a set of standards, or keep a reflective journal of their learning so far. This is useful for  learners to see their own progress and development; however, they do need to work autonomously and be honest about their achievements
Learner led Learners produce evidence, or let their assessors know when they are ready to be assessed
Norm referencing Comparing the results of learner achievements with one another, for example setting a pass mark to enable a certain percentage of a group to achieve or not
Objective An assessment decision which is based around the criteria being assessed, not a personal decision or opinion
Proficiency An assessment to test ability, for example, riding a bike
Process The assessment of routine skills or technique is assessed, for example, to ensure your learner is following a set procedure


Additional learning will take place besides that stated to achieve the assessment criteria

Product The outcome is assessed, not the process. For example a painting or a working model.


Teaching only the minimum amount required to pass an assessment

Profiling A way of recording learner achievements for each individual aspect of an assessment. Checklists can be a useful way to evidence these. More than one assessor can be involved in the process
Qualitative Assessment is based upon individual responses to open questions given to your learners. Clear criteria must be stated for the assessor to make a decision, as questions can be vague or misinterpreted
Quantitative Assessment is based upon yes/no or true/false responses, agree/disagree statements, or multiple choice tests, giving a clear right or wrong answer. Totals can be added to give results, for example 8 out of 10. Learners could pass purely by guessing the correct answers
Screening An informal process to assess if your learner has a language, literacy or numeracy skills need
Subjective A personal decision by the assessor, where the assessment criteria may not be clearly stated. This can be unfair to your learner
Summative Assessment at the end of the programme or unit, for example, an exam. If your learner do not pass, they will usually have the opportunity to retake. Often known as assessment of learning, as it shows what has been achieved from the learning process
Triangulation Using more than one assessment method, for example, observation, oral questioning and a test. This helps ensure the reliability and authenticity of your learner’s work and makes the assessment process more interesting.
Vocational Job related practical assessment, usually in your learner’s place of work

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