Active IQ Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (sample manual)

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Level 3 Award in

Understanding the Principles

and Practices of Assessment

Version AIQ005690

Understanding principles

and practice of assessment

in education and training


This unit examines the theory behind assessment, and how it can be implemented in a variety of methods

appropriate to the context of the environment, subject matter and type of learning. Assessors make judgements

and decisions based on evidence; however, it is important for the learner and others to be involved throughout. We

will also consider responsibilities, policies, procedures and legislation related to the role and the whole process.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this unit you will:

• Understand types and methods of assessment used in education and training

• Understand how to involve learners and others in the assessment process

• Understand the role and use of constructive feedback in the assessment process

• Understand requirements for keeping records of assessment in education and training

• Understand the principles and requirements of assessment

• Understand different types of assessment method

• Understand how to plan assessment

• Understand how to make assessment decisions

• Understand quality assurance of the assessment process

• Understand how to manage information related to assessment

• Understand the legal and good practice requirements

in relation to assessment.

Copyright © 2019 Active IQ Ltd. Not for resale


The principles, legal and good practice requirements of assessment

Section 1

Section 1: The principles,

legal and good practice

requirements of assessment

The purpose of assessment in learning and

development: functions, concepts and principles

Assessment is a purposeful process to find out if learning has taken place. It is a way to evidence whether a learner

has the knowledge and skills required, usually against a syllabus of criteria or expected standards. It is a supportive

process where the learner is encouraged to ask questions, seek feedback and be involved positively throughout.

Assessment can serve the following functions:

Motivate and

encourage learners


effectiveness of


Diagnose learner


Acknowledge and

certificate learning

Assist in selection


The overall purpose of assessment is to determine whether a person is competent based on a range of evidence

and set against specified criteria. It helps establish whether the standards have been met and enables qualifications

to be awarded.

Understanding principles and practice of assessment in education and training

The starting point for any assessment is the programme outline, guide or qualification syllabus usually provided by

the awarding organisation.

Awarding organisations (such as Active IQ) are responsible for producing the syllabus for a qualification, including

an assessment specification. This will include how the qualification should be assessed; this may cover the format,

frequency, qualifications required by the assessors, and systems for implementing internal and external quality



Find out who the awarding organisation is for your subject area. Access their website to find the

specifications / syllabus for the qualifications they offer and review the assessment strategy along with

the policies and procedures they have. Familiarise yourself with the requirements so that you can be

prepared once you start working with an education and training provider.

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The principles, legal and good practice requirements of assessment

Section 1

Valuing reflective practice and continuing professional development

Reflective practice is important for the assessor. It is thinking about (or reflecting on) what you did or the experience

you had and deciding from that what you would do the same or differently next time.

Reflective practice requires a conscious effort to think about the experience and develop future ideas. All individuals

involved in the learning and development process can benefit from it.

Gravells’ (2011) EDAR approach provides a simple mechanism to follow for reflection:





Experience – the assessment you gave and would like to improve or reflect on

Describe – who was involved, what happened, when and where it happened

Analyse – think more deeply, think how and why it happened

Revise – what would you do differently? What would you keep the same? Try it out next time

Following this method can allow an assessor to reflect on their own assessment practice and identify areas they

may wish to change. Assessors can reflect on their assessment experiences in a variety of ways including simple

templates, notebooks, evaluation forms, self-reflection logs, learning logs or diaries.

Continual professional development (CPD) is a means by which assessors can maintain, improve and broaden

their knowledge, skills and assessment practice. This can be achieved in many ways, including attending workshops,

online training, conferences, shadowing, buddying, mentoring others or taking further qualifications. With respect to

assessment, CPD is vital as standards and qualifications change, regulations are amended, and subject knowledge

and skills are constantly evolving. Without CPD, an assessor risks not being occupationally competent and being

unable to perform their role. Most awarding organisations and training providers will require evidence of regular CPD

to maintain the standards, licence or qualifications needed to assess.



Develops how to cope positively and confidently with assessment challenges and changes.

Showcases assessors’ achievements and enhances credibility.

Defines, monitors and achieves career goals.

Reflect on your current experience as a new assessor using the EDAR approach described above. Include

the opportunities you will take over the coming months to develop your knowledge, skills and practice.


Understanding principles and practice of assessment in education and training

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Planning assessment

Section 3

Section 3: Planning assessment

As with any aspect of learning and development provision, planning is essential in ensuring a smooth, efficient and

effective assessment process.

To be effective, the assessment plan needs to consider the following factors:

Involving the learners Initial assessment Assessment method and type

Awarding organisation requirements

Environmental conditions

Date, time and duration Number and ability of learners Resources and materials

Staff / support availability and expertise

Did you know?

Initial assessment can….

Type of evidence required

Help create an individual learning plan.

Ensure learners are taking the right programme at the right level.

Identify any specific support needs.

Identify learning preferences.

Inspire and motivate learners.

Involve learners, giving them confidence to set their own targets.

To be effective, an assessment plan should address the following:

Subject, qualification and specification

1. The learner must be involved in the planning of assessments and agree with the plan. They need to understand

what is expected of them and be given the best opportunity for success.

2. Plans must be clear and cover the required assessment criteria. They should show holistic assessment

where possible.

3. Plans should cover a variety of assessment methods which are appropriate for the criteria being assessed.

4. Plans should include dates, times, actions that need completing, required resources, and details of others

involved in the process.

Understanding principles and practice of assessment in education and training

Copyright © 2019 Active IQ Ltd. Not for resale 17

Planning assessment

Section 3

Risks associated with assessment

Environment: The assessor should consider the nature of

the assessment environment such as appropriate heating,

ventilation, lighting and fire exits, as well as more hazardous

environments for practical environments such as gymnastics

halls or swimming pools.




Activities: The assessor should pay attention to the

complexity of the tasks such as the length of time taken,

whether learners are sitting or standing, concentration

levels required and duration in the environment. Low-risk

tasks like written exams will pose less risk than complex

practical tasks such as weightlifting demonstrations or

mixing chemicals.




People: This risk presents the largest variable and the one

most difficult to control; what is low risk to one individual may be

high risk to another. Age, fitness, gender and skill levels all pose

a risk to physical or practical assessment, for example. More subtle

differences, such as familiarity with an assessment environment, or the

effect of assessment on stress, can also affect the assessment process. Other people involved or exposed to the

assessment process can pose a risk if known to the learner or assessor, or if roles and responsibilities are not

clearly defined and understood.

Pressure: Undue psychological pressure on the learner can risk affecting the quality of the assessment process,

such as assessing an individual who is not yet ready, setting unrealistic timescales, not adapting to reasonable

adjustments, special considerations or individual needs. Pressure can also affect the assessor, with high numbers

of learners to assess, pressure to meet attainment targets or funding, or pressure from the learner’s employers.





Situations that could pose a risk include:

Lower risk

• A lack of confidence in the assessor to make correct decisions.

• A lack of standardisation activities across the assessor workforce.

• A learner copying another’s work (plagiarism).

• An assessor not considering a learner’s needs.

• Using inappropriate assessment activities.

• Assessors using leading questions or doing the learners’ work for them.

• Awarding organisations prescribing unsuitable assessment methods.

• Employers not being supportive of assessment in the workplace.

• Unhelpful and negative feedback to the learner.

• Favouritism or bias towards selected learners.

• Learners not being registered with the awarding organisation prior to assessment.

• Unwelcome disruptions and interruptions when assessing.

Understanding principles and practice of assessment in education and training

Copyright © 2019 Active IQ Ltd. Not for resale 19

Keeping records and managing information

Section 6

Benefits of feedback

Creates opportunities for clarification and further discussion

Emphasises progress rather than failure

Gives learners confidence and motivation

Identifies further learning opportunities and actions


Questioning provides a highly effective method for the learner’s journey and for the assessment process. It helps to

establish whether the learner has the underpinning knowledge and understanding of particular assessment criteria.

The purpose of questioning is to allow your learner to consider their achievements and answers before it becomes

assessor-led. Asking open and probing questions allows the learner to demonstrate their own knowledge, provide

their own thoughts and insight, and to reflect on what they feel they have achieved and why and how they feel they

can continue to improve.

Top tips

Top tips for questioning:

1. Allow enough time.

2. Ask open questions: who, what,

where, why, when, how?

3. Be aware of your postures, gestures

and body language when asking

questions and receiving responses.

4. Be conscious of dialect, tone, pitch

and volume of your voice.

5. Don’t ask more than one question

at a time.

6. Involve everyone (nominated

questioning) if in a group.

7. Use active listening skills.

8. Use eye contact and names.

Understanding principles and practice of assessment in education and training

9. Maintain learners’ comfort zone by

being in a separate room, or away

from others, if appropriate.

10. Watch and respond to your

learners’ reactions.

Copyright © 2019 Active IQ Ltd. Not for resale 29



learner needs

Motivate and





of programme

Assist in




and certificate




Review of







decision and




Copyright © 2019 Active IQ Ltd. Not for resale

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