Assessment has two primary multi-purposes. It certifies attainment and measures the extent to which a student has achieved the learning outcomes. Assessment of students provides a means by which the institution can certify that students have the knowledge and competencies identified in paper or programme learning outcomes. Assessment also certifies that internationally recognised standards are met. Assurance of the completion of assessment tasks to an acceptable standard may be used for a variety of purposes such as progression through a programme, selection into another programme, or to certify competencies to enter employment or a particular profession. The grading involved in assessment provides stakeholders with an indication of the extent to which students have mastered the knowledge and competencies of a paper or a programme of study. Assessment that is primarily used to measure performance at the completion of a paper or programme is generally referred to as summative assessment. Some assessments during the course of a paper will also be primarily summative, as students will have no further opportunity to improve in relation to a particular task. All summative tasks should also be aligned with the paper’s intended learning outcomes. Where possible assessment standards and approaches (level of ask, substance of task, etc…) should be benchmarked against standards adopted by universities in New Zealand and internationally, and against professional standards where appropriate.
Assessment is also a primary teaching and learning tool. The literature suggests that assessment is the most influential determinant of how students think about and approach their learning. Therefore, assessment needs to be properly aligned with paper and programme learning goals in order to support students in becoming proficient in developing the knowledge and competencies required by any paper and programme.
Assessment tasks can be used to diagnose student learning at the outset of a programme, to coach students in the articulation of paper knowledge, discipline language and thinking, and the practice of particular learning skills. Students’ engagement in ongoing assessment provides lecturers with an insight into students’ learning progress. Feedback and feed-forward associated with assessment for learning or formative assessment should indicate to students the extent to which they have attained learning goals and advise students on what else needs to be done to align their performance more closely with learning goals and assessment standards. Formative assessment should also help prepare students for lifelong learning, an important aspect of which is to develop their ability to judge the quality of their own learning performance.
Lecturers’ and students’ responsibilities in the assessment process
Lecturers are expected to provide:
- Fair, consistent and transparent practices.
- Clarity of instructions.
- A detailed assessment section in the paper outline.
- Guidelines for improvement.
- Constructive, prompt and useful feedback on assessment tasks.
- Opportunities to discuss assessment tasks and feedback.
- Criteria that clearly set out the standards expected for the performance of the task.
- Marking that is explicitly linked to the assessment task criteria.
Students are expected to:
- Attend classes.
- Complete assessment items.
- Read the paper outline carefully and become familiar with assessment tasks.
- Ensure they understand the assessment instructions and seek clarification and/or guidance if they don’t.
- Read all additional material provided by lecturers.
- Ask for clarification and support when they need it.
- Hand assessment tasks in on time.
- Ensure that all assessment tasks are their own independent work unless instructed otherwise.
- Use the assessment criteria to guide them with the assignment preparation.
- Reference correctly and appropriately.
- Manage their time appropriately so that they are able to hand work in on time.