Assessment in Business Education


The aim of this document is to cover the theoretical rationale that underpins an effective system of assessment.

A review of research into classroom assessment by Black and Wiliam, (1998) has shown that “assessment for learning is one of the most powerful ways of improving learning, whilst raising standards and motivation to learn”.

The primary role of teaching is to support and encourage learning; assessment informs on the effectiveness of both teaching and learning, updating on progress and understanding:
providing individual progress updates on learners
informing parents on child’s progress
enabling the teacher to create appropriate teaching and learning strategies

Assessment and learning
Assessment informs teaching and planning by being incorporated from learning objectives through to evaluation.

Diagram 1: The planning process

A new paradigm of educational assessment
Assessment for learning is one of the most important purposes of assessment and is to be distinguished from assessment of learning, which is carried out for the purposes of grading and reporting (Assessment Reform Group, 1999). 

Criterion v. norm referenced assessment
Norm referenced tests compare learners and reward the best; they are widely used where there are insufficient places on a course or in a school.   The percentage of students obtaining a particular grade each year will not change, maintaining consistency.   However, tests used to compare students serve to de-motivate those who do not meet certain criteria.

Criterion referenced assessment focuses on what the learner has achieved independent of the performance of others and based on their competence.   Current thinking has progressed the argument to form ipsative assessment; directed at improving personal performance, concentrating on the student’s own previous attainment.

Formative assessment
Used to provide feedback on performance,...