Purposes of Assessment

Assessment activities exist for very different purposes. They support learning within a unit of study and ensure that students are prepared to meet the desired learning outcomes. They may contribute to final marks and grades which link to an ultimate certification of achievement or attainment of a standard. They also provide the foundation for learners to make judgements about their own work so they can learn and assess themselves beyond the unit of study. All of these purposes are important. However, any act of assessment might emphasise one purpose more than the others. Assessment design frequently focuses on the grading purpose, without considering how to support learning or how to build the capacity of students to make judgements about their own work.

Key assessment considerations

How can assessment: