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Principles of Assessment

Preamble

The Koya University, which engages in a wide diversity of assessment procedures, has established the following general principles for assessment. It is recognised that these principles have to cover forms of assessment which require different techniques and supporting regulations. Formative and summative forms of assessment have different aims, and consequently the principles of assessment may often be in conflict with each other. In such cases priorities have to be established. The following principles are not listed in order of priority.

Active fostering of learning - beneficial

Assessment is part of learning and should be an integral part of course planning. Assessment should be beneficial in its effect, particularly in motivating students. The purpose of any assessment, especially formative assessment such as course work, should be to foster learning. It should assist the processes of teaching and learning, and foster the relationship and trust between teachers and learners. It should aim to strengthen morale, encourage initiative and innovation and increase commitment of staff and students.

Fair, reliable and valid

The assessment process should operate fairly for all concerned, and be seen to be fair. No individual or group should enjoy privileged status or suffer undue disadvantage in terms of the academic judgements that are made about their performance. Matters relating to illness, disability or other reasons for non-completion of work need to be handled sensitively, equitably and consistently.

Where judgements on academic achievement differ between individual assessors, this difference should be acknowledged and appropriate measures should be put in place to ensure consistency and reliability. These measures should take account of judgements made from year to year, between different examiners and between assessed course elements within students’ curriculum.

In order to be valid the assessment objectives must match the objectives of the syllabus. Students therefore need to be aware of the criteria by which they are to be judged.

Diverse, varied and representative

In order to record as full a profile of student strengths and weaknesses, intellectual achievement should be measured by as varied and diverse a range of methods as possible/appropriate.

All schemes of assessment should sample a substantial proportion of the work covered in a course in order to be representative, fair, valid, reliable and effective.

Transparency, right of redress

The purposes, procedures and criteria of the assessment process need to be open, clearly stated and understood by all involved: assessors, teachers and students. All need to understand the expected learning outcomes of each programme of instruction; the marking criteria upon which decisions are made; the nature of any grading system; the nature of any appeals process, etc… Appropriate procedures should be in place to allow students a means of gaining the right of redress where this is deemed to be justified. Both staff and students should have access to information about these procedures from the outset of the assessment process.

Effective

Any assessment scheme should achieve its intended purpose. This purpose might be:
  • summative - providing an accurate judgement and record of a student’s attainment;
  • formative - helping a student to learn from previous performance in order to improve;
  • diagnostic - ascertaining students’ strengths, weaknesses and learning or developmental needs.

Practicable and cost effective

Any assessment scheme must be adequately resourced and managed efficiently in terms of staff and student time, or it will not be effective.

Secure

Assessment processes must ensure the security of their operation in terms of the safe recording, transfer, storage and retrieval of information on student achievement. Fairness, effectiveness and the right of redress are all predicated on the assumption of secure operation and the prevention of any loss of information or fraudulent practice.

Last reviewed: June 2012