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The principles and practices of assessment Essay

Define the key concepts and principles of assessment and explain its functions in learning and development.
• What is the purpose of assessment?
• What does assessment aim to achieve?
• How does assessment impact and relate with learning and development?
• Explain the definition of formative and summative assessment.
• Why is initial assessment important and how and when should an initial assessment be completed?
• Explain the meaning of valid, fair, authentic, sufficient and current
As an assessor, how do you ensure you complete your assessments in a ‘fair’ manner


Assessment enables an assessor to establish whether learning has taken place. To certain if the learner has gained the knowledge and understanding, competence or personal, learning and thinking required at the relevant points in their learning journey. Assessment also allows the learner to reflect on the progress they have made, consolidating their learning, and support identification of their next steps.

Assessment is part of the cycle of planning, teaching and learning, focusing on and improving/ reinforcing learning, whilst measuring achievement. It can be formal and informal, as learners will be demonstrating their skills, knowledge and understanding all the time, through tasks, discussions and ongoing activities. Objective feedback is a key aspect of assessment, linked to the assessment criteria, this will support the progressive learning process. This continual process will also identify if a milestone or target planned within an individual learning plan will need to be revisited or adjusted to support an effective learning journey.

There are two main types of assessment, formative assessment and summative assessment. Formative assessment is the assessment for learning and will identify the learning achieved so far in order to develop learning appropriately. Summative learning is the assessment of learning and is used to confirm that learning and achievement have taken place. When assessing competence and performance within the workplace, a good starting point for assessment is the relevant sector standards and job description. This will provide a fair and consistent framework to assess skills, knowledge and understanding across the board in an objective manner. Initial assessment can be started through application forms, initial interviews, discussions and diagnostics, identifying a leaner’s starting point, potential and level.

Assessors should ensure that all assessments are:

Valid – the work is produced at the appropriate level and relevant. Authentic – the work being assessed is that of the learner. Current – the work is relevant to the standards at the time of assessment. Sufficient – the work covers all the necessary and relevant standards being assessed. Reliable – the work is consistent across all learners within a relevant cohort. It is important that an assessor demonstrates fairness in the assessment process, by making sure assessment activities are fit for purpose and that all aspects of the assessment process is justifiable. All learners should have an equal opportunity for an accurate and fair assessment.


Explain the role (main aim) and responsibilities (how will the assessor achieve that aim. What will they have to do?) of the assessor.

• Assessor responsibilities to understand the standards and requirements they are working to.
• Planning assessments and communicating with learners with reference to the assessment requirements.
• Carrying out assessments and ensuring they meet the standards.
• Making an assessment decision, recording the assessment decision and giving feedback to the learner.
• Standardisation – what is it and why is it important that assessors take part in regular standardisation exercises?
Continual Professional Development – explain the importance of why an assessor should take part in CPD and maintain a CPD log.


An assessor should support the learner with their learning journey within their subject/ qualification in accordance with the relevant guidance and regulations, providing a quality service to the learner, maintaining the reputation of the assessor’s organisation, the currency of the qualification being taken and the legitimacy of the relevant awarding body. It is important to ensure you are interpreting the relevant standards and requirements accurately as this will also ensure the learner has equal and fair access to assessment opportunities.

A robust assessment plan should be prepared and agreed with the learner prior to assessment being carried out. This can be implemented through agreeing appropriate types and methods of assessment with a learner, agreeing suitable target dates and collaborating as appropriate with the learner’s colleagues or mentor, in line with the relevant organisational guidance.

The standardisation process is necessary to ensure the relevant assessment requirements for a qualification are interpreted accurately across an organisation in line with the awarding body’s and sector’s standards. Establishing comparable and consistent assessment decisions by all assessors within that organisation.

Continuing professional development ensures the currency of the assessors skills, knowledge and understanding within a sector, ensuring their assessment practice and subject knowledge are up to date.

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