Many of us may think of assessment as a necessary evil when it comes to studying and a source of anxiety. So, we might wonder: why do we need assessment?
To answer this question, let’s consider some core functions of assessment:
There are many ways to categorise assessment practices. Chances are that, during your degree, you will encounter several of these different assessment types.
Formative vs summative: Formative assessments are tasks designed as opportunities to practice and inform on future work. Formative assignments are, therefore, the best opportunity for directly applicable feedback. They may or may not be accompanied by a mark; the mark, if there, is indicative and should be received as a guide. Make sure you make the most of formative opportunities in your modules, so you can best prepare for the subsequent summative tasks.
Exams vs coursework: as a distinction, it serves to separate the end of term examinations from the assessment that takes place during the module’s run. Exams are more likely to target completeness of learning whereas in-class tests may test content knowledge in increments as you go; other types of coursework assignments may address specific learning objectives, content, or skills relevant to the module’s intended outcomes.
Types of exams:
Types of coursework:
The criteria against which your work will be assessed are an important indicator of which attributes are valued in the context of your assignment.
It’s always worth paying attention to this element of your assessment brief as you prepare your submission. How would you evaluate your own work or performance against this set of criteria? Is there anything you have overlooked?
Check this video on understanding assessment criteria
Also, worth looking at these general descriptors of the different marking bands in the Annex 1 and 2 of the University's marking policy.