Assessing and Evaluating for Learning/A&E Course Modules/Process, principles and practice module

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Process, Principles and Practice

In the last module you were asked to explore key values of assessment.

Assessment must be:

  • valid
  • reliable
  • practicable
  • fair
  • transparent


  • relevant

Has this been your experience of assessment?

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Consider your experiences of assessment both as an assessor and a learner being assessed.

Do you have stories relating to the positives and negatives of assessment that you can share on the Moodle online discussions?

Add your stories to the thread entitled 'General Assessing and Evaluating Discussion'


In situations where formal assessment is undertaken and results are recorded in adult education especially where this occurs within institutions or organisations then there is likely to be policy to support that process.

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If you work within an institution or organisation what policy or policies cover assessment practices?

If you don't know the answer to the question above - do some research and find out.

Find and read the policy/policies and consider how they impact upon your own assessment practices.

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There are two main functions of assessment - Formal and Informal assessment

Formal assessment – assessment that is given a mark or grade contributing to a final recorded result

Informal assessment – unmarked assessment that provides feedback to support student learning

(Heather Day, personal definition - 2006)

These functions are also commonly defined as Formative and Summative assessment

"Formative assessment - Assessments undertaken during the learning and teaching process to provide feedback to both learner and assessor on progress made."

“Summative assessment - Assessment which measures a level of performance and is used in determining final outcome/result.”

(Otago Polytechnic Academic Policy: Assessment, AP900.03, 2007, pp 5-6)

Often the above definitions are paired together.

Formal with Summative and Informal with Formative. This generally works although the exception is Formative assessment is often used with a dual purpose and a summative mark is given alongside the provision of feedback to support student learning. This often occurs in response to students valuing marked work more highly than unmarked work.

This links well to the fundamentals of effective assessment which provide insight into 12 valuable principles of assessment; from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at Melbourne University.

The first principle is: Assessment should help students to learn. in which they identify that formative assessment is crucial to effective learning.

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Consider how formative and summative assessment are used in your teaching context?


Key features of the assessment process include:

  • careful design of assessment tools
  • appropriate delivery of assessment
  • clear and constructive feedback
  • fair marking

These aspects of the process will be be explored in relation to a variety of assessment tools and methods throughout this course.

Another key aspect of the assessment process is moderation.


The intent of moderation is to "verify that assessment design and assessor judgements

  • are valid, fair, consistent and reliable,
  • meet approved learning outcomes, and
  • are appropriate to the learning environment."
(Otago Polytechnic Academic Policy: Moderation of Assessment, AP908.00, 2007, p 1.)

Pre-Assessment Moderation

Pre-assessment moderation occurs after the assessment has been designed but before it is given to students. This can be likened to an editing process before publication.

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Write down your answer to the following question:

What factors need to be considered when undertaking a pre-assessment moderation?

For Otago Polytechnic staff the Moderation of Assessment policy can offer some answers to this.

Compare your answers to those brainstormed by the workshop group.

Post-Assessment Moderation

Post-assessment moderation occurs after the assessment has been marked but before it is returned to students.

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Write down your answer to the following question:

What factors need to be considered when undertaking a post-assessment moderation?

Again compare your answers to those brainstormed by the workshop group.

Cultural Diversity and Assessment

Key values of assessment include fairness and relevance. When exploring these values it is also important to consider learners needs and cultural diversity.

Culture can be defined as...

culture (WAY OF LIFE) noun [C or U] the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time:

  • youth/working-class culture
  • She's studying modern Japanese language and culture.
(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

Using the above definition, consideration of cultural diversity can encompass a very broad range of possibilities.

The following link to Cultural Diversity Resources will take you to a page that will continue to develop with a range of resources. Hopefully you will find something among them that has relevance to your own context.

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Share your thoughts on consideration of cultural diversity and assessment in the named thread on the Moodle Online Discussions.