What are the criteria for sound assessment?

Below are some criteria to be considered when assessments are designed. These criteria should however not be considered or applied in isolation, but rather, as far as is possible, be balanced against each other. This may mean that individual criteria may not apply to the same extent to each assessment but should be applied in a holistic manner at a modular or programme level. See your institutional and national Assessment Policies for more examples of criteria to consider.

The criteria below are explained using “learning to drive” as an example. The outcome for this “module” is that students will be able to safely drive a car.



The assessment tasks are assessing the stated learning outcomes. The results obtained from the assessment should reflect the outcomes you set for your students.


Assessment tasks should be generating comparable marks across time, across markers and across methods. In addition, reliability requires that assessment of the same learning by different modes should render similar outcomes.



Information on assessment is made known to the students. This includes information on the reasons for the assessment, when it will take place, the methods that will be used, the criteria according to which it will be measured, the manner in which the final mark will be calculated and any environment specific appeal mechanisms.


Assessment systems are equitable in that all students are treated fairly, without prejudice and with the necessary assistance to overcome inability or handicaps. Assessment assignments are of such a nature that they can be suitably understood and interpreted by students from different backgrounds.



The costs and practical implications of the assessment process are reasonable within the context and the purpose of the assessment.

Timely feedback

Lecturers provide timely feedback on formative and summative assessment tasks. The feedback enables the students to identify the sections that have been completed satisfactorily and to clearly know which sections require further study. By supporting students to monitor their own learning and to reflect on learning experiences, rather than to focus one-sidedly on marks, is to support and promote student learning. Timely feedback on formative and summative assessment tasks is critical for student learning and is made available in order to identify the sections that have been completed satisfactorily and the ways in which learning can be improved.

Academic Integrity

As far as is possible, the necessary procedures are in existence to avoid, detect and deal with dishonesty. This implies that all those involved are fully informed of the Senate regulations in this regard.