This Theme sets out the guiding principles which underpin assessment, offering practical advice and useful resources. Assessment is a fundamental aspect of the student experience. Students learn from assessment activities, interact with staff and peers, and gain feedback on their progress and performance. Assessment enables them to reflect and continually build on their learning.
Expectations and Practices for Assessment
Expectations for standards
The academic standards of courses meet the requirements of the relevant national qualifications framework.
The value of qualifications awarded to students at the point of qualification and over time is in line with sector-recognised standards.
Expectations for quality
Courses are well-designed, provide a high-quality academic experience for all students and enable a student’s achievement to be reliably assessed.
From admission through to completion, all students are provided with the support that they need to succeed in and benefit from higher education.
Core practices for standards
The provider ensures that the threshold standards for its qualifications are consistent with the relevant national qualifications frameworks.
The provider ensures that students who are awarded qualifications have the opportunity to achieve standards beyond the threshold level that are reasonably comparable with those achieved in other UK providers.
Where a provider works in partnership with other organisations, it has in place effective arrangements to ensure that the standards of its awards are credible and secure irrespective of where or how courses are delivered or who delivers them.
The provider uses external expertise, assessment and classification processes that are reliable, fair and transparent.
Common practice for standards
The provider reviews its core practices for standards regularly and uses the outcomes to drive improvement and enhancement.
Core practices for quality
The provider designs and/or delivers high-quality courses.
The provider has sufficient appropriately qualified and skilled staff to deliver a high-quality academic experience.
Common practices for quality
The provider reviews its core practices for quality regularly and uses the outcomes to drive improvement and enhancement.
The provider’s approach to managing quality takes account of external expertise.
The provider engages students individually and collectively in the development, assurance and enhancement of the quality of their educational experience.
- Assessment methods and criteria are aligned to learning outcomes and teaching activities.
- Assessment is reliable, consistent, fair and valid.
- Assessment design is approached holistically.
- Assessment is inclusive and equitable.
- Assessment is explicit and transparent.
- Assessment and feedback is purposeful and supports the learning process.
- Assessment is timely.
- Assessment is efficient and manageable.
- Students are supported and prepared for assessment.
- Assessment encourages academic integrity.
- European Guidelines for Validating Non-Formal and Informal Learning, European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, 2009
- AdvanceHE, Higher Education Academy
- UK Professional Standards Framework, AdvanceHE, Higher Education Academy
- Association for Learning Development in Higher Education
- Staff and Educational Development Association
- A marked improvement, Higher Education Academy
- Developing Engagement with Feedback Toolkit, Higher Education Academy
- Plagiarism advice
- Contracting to cheat in higher education (PDF, 0.48MB), QAA
- Ten Feedback Principles, NUS
- The Information Commissioner's Office
- The Information Commissioner's Office: Education
- Scottish Information Commissioner
- Focus On: Feedback from Assessment, QAA Scotland
- Recognition of Prior Learning, QAA Scotland
- Transforming the Experience of Students Through Assessment, TESTA