Assessment types and design

Student presentationAssessments can positively direct learning. Matching learning outcomes with the best way of measuring them will deliver an effective learning opportunity.

When assessment drives learning it is important that the assessment is a valid measure of the learning outcomes.

There is a wide range of assessment methods. It is useful to go beyond the standard essay and exam assessment regime to allow students to develop their graduate attributes in ways that will be significant as professionals (e.g. report writing; presentation; case analysis).

Variation also allows students different ways to demonstrate their learning (e.g. discussion board contributions and reflective journals may be more effective in drawing out quieter students abilities).


  • Exams are good for checking student knowledge of facts and theories, measuring ability to work under pressure, and directing attention to detail.
  • Open exams reduce the need to memorise detail and allows for higher level thinking tasks.
  • Take home exams provide opportunities for deeper analysis of the question and consultation of more resources. They also remove some of the stress of traditional exam situation.
  • Essays/reports create a space for reviewing, judging, and analysing information and practice written communication skills.
  • Case studies allow students to apply knowledge and exhibit communication skills in a structured setting.
  • Reflective journals can be used to establish evidence of quality thinking and ability to transfer knowledge from the classroom into other spheres. They support the development of personal and intellectual autonomy.
  • Assessed groupwork can be used to evaluate both negotiation, cross-cultural and leadership skills. Group tasks can also be used for testing application of knowledge.
  • Presentations are a way to evaluate oral communication and presentation skills. They may also prove valuable in assessing application of knowledge and synthesising material.