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Theory assignment 7

T7 – Review a range of different assessment methods available and explain the ones you would use for your subject area. Evaluate the use of assessment methods in different contexts, including reference to initial assessment. Justify the types of assessment records you would keep and explain why.

Mortar board iconTask Notes: There are 3 parts to this task – it may be easier to plan your written work in 3 separate sections:

The first part of the task is to discuss assessment methods generally including reference to those that are appropriate for your own teaching area.

The second part of the task is to discuss why assessment is necessary and compare different situations or circumstances (subject area, organisation etc) with regard to initial, formative and summative assessment.

The third part is to discuss the assessment records you would keep (initial, formative and summative) and give an explanation of why it is necessary to keep records.

After you have read these notes, have a go at the activities and weblinks.


Assessment is recognised as the fourth stage in the teaching/training cycle (although initial assessment is part of the first stage).

To start this task you need to be really clear about the three main types of assessment (initial, formative, summative) and different assessment methods (observation, testing, questioning etc). Assessment methods and strategies have to be fair, valid and reliable. Find some definitions and examples of these terms – this website is a start:

The initial assessment methods you use will depend on your subject area and any requirements of your organisation. Although all teachers should use some initial assessment to identify needs, previous experience etc, some subjects require more stringent initial assessment. A Good Practice Guide relating to initial assessment for Skills for Life Practitioners can be accessed at PDF Icon
Appendix 1 in this document identifies the different stages of a learning journey.

The subject you are teaching; your learner group, the activities you select and the expected learning outcomes might affect your choice of formative assessment methods within a session or course.

For example if a teacher of First Aid wants to check whether a learner can use resuscitation techniques effectively the most appropriate assessment method would probably be simulation. If the same teacher wants to check whether a learner can apply the knowledge gained from the session to a range of situations, an appropriate method might be questioning (oral or written).

Assessment methods should be linked to SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound). An objective which states that learners will be able to ‘list the capital cities in Europe’ should be assessed by either a written or practical task where they are asked to list the cities; it should not be assessed by a task which asks them to describe the demographic features of each city.

In accredited learning the summative assessment methods and tasks are usually defined by an awarding body, along with the achievement criteria. For non-accredited learning, the 5 staged RARPA process is often implemented (Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement). There is an explanatory Powerpoint presentation at (this is a Welsh document but still relevant).

Now have a look at this document: Learning in progress: recognising achievement in adult learning: online at Although it primarily relates to Adult Community Learning, the contents are relevant for all teaching situations.

Appendix 1 of this document includes a diagram of when to assess and methods that could be used for each stage of assessment.


ATHERTON J S (2005) Teaching and Learning:  Assessment   [On-line] UK: Available:

DFES (2006) Good Practice Guidelines for the skills check and initial assessment Online: PDF Icon

Nashashibi P (2002) Learning in progress recognising achievement in adult learning Online:

NIACE (undated) RARPA - The staged process Online:

Brain IconTopics to research/review:


  • Types of assessment.
  • Methods of assessment.
  • RARPA.
  • SMART objectives and assessment.
  • Validity and Reliability.

Pen in hand IconActivities


PC iconAssessment task


Web iconWeblinks


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Link to IntroductionLink to Frequently Asked QuestionsLink to GlossaryLink to Introduction Link to Course Overview Link to Guidance Notes Link to Theory Tasks Link to Practical Tasks Link to Smart Screen Guidelines Link to VLE Guidelines Link to Weblinks Link to City and Guild Forms