D1: Assessment Guide

Assessment schedules

  1. At the beginning of their course/module, students should be provided with an assessment schedule. This should provide them with information about:
    • when the various summative assessments will take place;
    • brief information of the format of the assessment i.e. coursework/exam/presentation;
    • word count or duration as appropriate;
    • when results can be expected.
  2. Assessment schedules may be produced as a stand-alone document, as part of the course handbook or posted on ORMS’ VLE if this is available for the module. Consideration should be given to whether formative assessment tasks are also documented in the assessment schedule.

Changes to published assessments

Tutors may not make any changes to published assessments without specific authorisation from either the Education Manager or an ORMS Director. If tutors or the students are having problems with assessment tasks, then raise the matter with the Education Manager. If you need to make a reasonable adjustment, then the guidance in D3: Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedures will help you, but you still need to raise the matter with the Education Manager. If the problem has arisen on a short course being run at the weekend, use the out-of-hours contact telephone numbers.

You need to read D1a Assessment Procedures, D1b Assessment Principles and Methods, and D3: Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedures to help guide your approach to assessment.

Formative Assessment

  1. The purpose of formative assessment is to facilitate learning during the delivery of a module. Formative assessments contribute to the student’s learning experience and their development, and subsequently to enhancing their performance in summative assessment.
  2. Formative assessment enables students to give and to receive (where appropriate) individual, group or general feedback which identifies where they can make an improvement in their work and maintain achievement.
  3. Formative assessment can also be described as ‘assessment for learning’ since an assessment that is entered into voluntarily, and on which no final qualification depends, can prompt learners to adjust their own performance.

Summative assessment

  1. Summative assessment demonstrates the extent of a student’s success in meeting the assessment criteria used to gauge the intended learning outcomes of a module or programme, and which contributes to the final mark given for the module. It is normally, though not always, used at the end of a unit of teaching.
  2. Summative assessment is used to quantify achievement, to reward achievement, to provide data for selection (to the next stage in education or to employment). For all these reasons the validity and reliability of summative assessment are of the greatest importance. Summative assessment can provide information that has formative/diagnostic value.

Assessment Glossary


Word / Term Meaning
academic appeal A process outlined in Academic Regulations through which a student seeks a review of the decision of an Assessment Board relating to progression or award
aide – memoire An aid to remembering
anonymous marking The marking of students’ submitted work without their identity being revealed to the person carrying out the marking at the time the work is marked, so that the assessment is unbiased [source: QAA]
artefact A manufactured article normally produced for an assessment or as part of work in progress
assessment Method by which the achievement of the learning outcomes of a course/module are tested
assessment board The formally constituted meeting which confirms students’ results including awards and where an External Examiner is normally in attendance
assessment brief A guide to the assessment
assessment committee A subsidiary meeting preceding an Assessment Board at which the External Examiner is not in attendance and where initial discussion of the pattern of results takes place
assessment component A part of the assessment task
assessment criteria The knowledge, understanding and skills that markers expect a student to display in an assessment task, and which are taken into account in marking the work. These criteria are based on the intended learning outcomes [source: QAA]
assessment element A subdivision of an assessment component
assessment task What the student is expected to do for the assessment
assessment type The mode of assessment. This will be an examination, a coursework or a practical examination. Refer below: coursework, examination or practical examination
award A qualification, or academic credit, conferred in formal recognition that the student has achieved the intended learning outcomes and passed the assessments required to meet the academic standards set for a programme or unit of study[source: QAA]
case study A learning object based on a described situation or set of circumstances
cohort A group of students undertaking the same assessment(s) at the same time
computer-aided assessment An interchangeable term with computer-assisted assessment
computer-assisted assessment (CAA) Assessment practice that relies in part on computers
computer-based assessment (CBA) Assessment delivered and marked by computer
conferment The formal process of making an award
coursework An assessment which is not time limited except by a deadline for submission and which involves the submission of written work or an artefact. If an assessment comprises of work in the form of artefacts such as sketchbooks, large-scale design work, exhibitions or portfolios, produced in either a classroom or self-study environment it is considered to be coursework. This includes work that counts towards continuous or examinable work.
crit A review of work between staff and student or staff and a group of students; normally in art, design and architecture disciplines to review work in progress
defer Where consideration of an assessment result does not take place because the student has extenuating circumstances. The student’s attempt at the assessment is deferred.
diagnostic assessment Evaluation of how well a learner is prepared for a given programme or unit of study within it, identifying any strengths, gaps in knowledge, or shortfall in necessary understanding and skills [source: QAA]
dialogic assessment Using dialogue to assess an aspect of student learning
diet A collection of examination events, e.g. the Semester 1 examination diet started in January
dissertation A written study based on primary or secondary research
double marking

[see also second marking]
Assessment of students’ work by two or more independent markers as a means of safeguarding or assuring academic standards by controlling for individual bias [source: QAA]. Double marking is normally undertaken with the first marking unseen.
draft A piece of work in unfinished form
e-assessment The end-to-end electronic assessment process where ICT is used for the presentation of assessment activity, and the recording of responses. This includes the end-to-end assessment process from the perspective of learners, tutors, learning establishments, awarding bodies and regulators, and the general public [JISC 2007] comprising e-Submission, e-Marking and e-Feedback
e-feedback Comments on an assessment provided on e-copy of the work or via an e-feedback sheet
e-marking Where the assessment is marked online
essay A written submission as a form of assessment
e-submission The first step of an e-assessment process and is the process of delivering coursework from student to marker
examination A question or set of questions relating to a particular area of study [source: HESA]
examination venue The place where the examination is undertaken
experiment A trial or investigation
extension The permitted delay, for a set period of time, of the submission of an assessment
extenuating circumstances Exceptional, serious, acute and unforeseen problems or events impacting upon a student’s performance/ability to undertake an assessment
external examiner An independent expert appointed to comment on student achievement in relation to academic standards and to look at approaches to assessment.
external scrutiny The mechanism(s) for External Examiners to review and confirm that instruments of assessment are fit for purpose and that assessments produced by students are of an appropriate standard
feedback Comments by staff/peers on a student’s work
formative assessment

[see also summative assessment]
Feedback on the student’s performance, designed to help them learn more effectively and find ways to maintain and improve their progress. It does not contribute to the final mark, grade or class of degree awarded to the student [source: QAA]. Formative assessment can also be described as ‘assessment for learning’ since an assessment that is entered into voluntarily, and on which no final qualification depends, can prompt learners to adjust their own performance
grade The value attributed to the assessment
grading The process of evaluating the student’s assessment submission
grading scheme The framework for awarding credit for summative assessment.
group assessment A submission made by a group of students who will all receive the same grade
instrument of assessment The method or tool used for assessment
internal Assessment Committee See Assessment Committee
internal moderation The process by which marks are reviewed for consistency and standards by an internal group of markers.
internal scrutiny The mechanism for checking internally by academic peers that the instrument of assessment is fit for purpose
internal verification Refer internal scrutiny
journal A collection of articles with editorial content
laboratory work Study and research carried out in a controlled environment
late submission Submission of assessment after the set deadline without prior permission
learning agreement A contract of study or work between a student and a host agency
learning outcomes What a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate after completing a process of learning [source: QAA]
mark An evaluation of the student’s work in numerical terms which can be converted according to approved criteria into a grade
marking The process of evaluating the student’s work in numerical terms.

Also used generically to mean the process of evaluating the student’s assessment submission against specific criteria to award a grade/mark.

marking grid A detailed grid assigning marks against set criteria, where a specific number of marks are given to individual aspects of the answer.
mitigating circumstances see extenuating circumstances
model answer An exemplar of the kind of answer expected for an assessment task
moderation The process of reviewing all the marks or grades in a group of assessments to ensure equitable marking and to make adjustments where appropriate. Double marking and second marking are examples of moderation tools.
mooting Simulated court proceedings which requires researching a point of law, drafting brief and argument before a moot court
online assessment An interchangeable term with e-assessment
online feedback An interchangeable term with e-feedback
online submission An interchangeable term with e-submission
open book examination An examination where the student is allowed to take in supporting material for reference, which may or may not be prescribed
oral assessment Assessment in verbal form e.g. by means of oral exam, presentation, debate or verbal discussion
OSCE An Objective Structured Clinical Examination is a type of examination often used in health sciences to test clinical skill performance and competence in professional skills
OSPE An Objective Structured Practical Examination similar to an OSCE
peer assessment Where work is assessed by fellow students
peer review Where work is reviewed by fellow students.
personation Where a substitute takes the place of a student in an examination; preparing coursework for assessment on behalf of another student, or submitting coursework for assessment that has been prepared by someone other than the student to whom the resulting grade would be attributed.
portfolio A collection of work
practical examination Assessment of a student’s practical skills or competence. Practical skills assessment focuses on whether, and/or how well, a student performs a specific practical skill or technique (or competency). Examples include clinical skills, laboratory techniques, identification of or commentary on artwork, surveying skills, listening comprehension, and performances [source: HESA]
practice Learning undertaken through practical activity
presentation Verbal presentation on a topic or work in progress
progression Formal progress through an academic course, meeting key academic requirements [source: QAA]
project A wide ranging study or exploration of a subject
re-assessment Where subsequent assessment of the same module takes place; a further opportunity to pass a previously failed assessment
refer Where a student has a further attempt at a module. E.g. The student is referred in the module at a second attempt.
report An account or description or evaluation of something
re-sit Informal term for re-assessment, more often used for re-assessment by examination
safety fail Where a student is failed on the basis that they are advocating or undertakes unsafe practice
scrutiny Close and thorough observation/examination
second marking

[see also double marking]
A second stage of marking, which may be for checking, sampling or moderation purposes [source: QAA]. The presumption is that second marking is undertaken by a marker who has seen the mark and/or comments of the first marker.
self-assessment An assessment undertaken by a student of his/her own work
show A display or spectacle to convey or illustrate learning
submission The handing in or presenting of the student’s work for assessment
submission date The deadline for handing in finished work for assessment
summative assessment

[see also formative assessment]
An assessment leading to the award of credit, formal award or qualification
team marking Where individual assessments submitted by large cohort of students are marked by more than one member of staff to an agreed set of criteria. Processes of moderation are used to ensure equitable standards of marking.
viva Refer viva voce examination
viva voce examination For taught courses: an oral examination or assessment which is conducted “in addition” to the assessments specified in the Course Specification.
work experience The knowledge, skills, understanding a person gains while undertaking work in a specific role and field
work placement Part of a course where students apply and develop their knowledge in a practical context