Assessment should ideally align with desired learner outcomes. This is most obvious from a grading or accreditation perspective, as it is critical to ensure that the learner has met the unit requirements and there isn’t any disjunction between the general teaching and the assessment tasks, and on some occasions, external professional requirements as well. However, assessment tasks have more complex interactions with student outcomes, as learners develop over the course of a unit, and continue to develop through the program and into graduation. Any substantive new learning outcome needs to be: a) introduced; b) developed through formative assessment; and c) assured through summative assessment. Additionally, educators often design assessment to develop learners in broader ways than the specific learning outcomes. These can be at a program level (for example, to develop writing skills commensurate with a tertiary graduate), or at a discipline or professional level (for example, to be able to apply scientific arguments).

Key assessment considerations

How does assessment align with, and promote, desired student outcomes, including: