Assessment is used in the teaching sector for many reasons. Firstly as an initial assessment of a learner, allowing for identification of learning difficulties and needs. It is used to give both the student and teacher feedback on the learner’s abilities and progress, therefore outlining strengths or weaknesses in both the teaching strategies and learning styles. Of course all of the above is used as motivation for the students and teachers involved. Finally the purpose of assessment is used to moderate standards in the institute. Granting students with certificates, which in turn allows for progression to another course/career. The assessments carried out will also inform QA data and allow institutes to highlight lower and higher performing areas, areas of growth and decline.

Following initial assessment there are essentially two types of assessment used to inform the teacher and learning institution on the progress and final achievement of learning; formative and summative.

Summative (or “final”) assessment is used at the end of a course to assess grading and certification; it is used to demonstrate an objective assessment of the level achieved by a learner at the conclusion of a programme of learning. It will also facilitate the progression of a learner to further study to a higher level. ‘A good set of A level results, for example, will give a student entry into a university.’ (Cox et al. 2002, 7) by demonstrating – using nationally (in some cases internationally) recognised assessment - to the Higher Education Institute (HEI) that the learner has achieved a level of learning that will enable them to embark on and cope with HE learning level.

Formative (or “on-going”) assessment however, is used during the course with the intention of informing both the teacher and student what level has been achieved and therefore provides an objective and standardised view of the learner’s progress towards the ultimate conclusion of...