Powerful Assessment Exemplars

Key tests for powerful assessment

Some key tests identified by the Fellowship participants for a ‘powerful’ assessment task

The assessment task or tool under consideration

  • Attracts high levels of student satisfaction;
  • Clearly addresses the key capabilities set down for the program/unit, especially those identified as characteristic of work ready plus graduates in the field of education concerned;
  • Brings to bear different perspectives, taps into multiple domains of learning;
  • Is integrated – that is, it concurrently seeks to assess key personal, interpersonal and cognitive capabilities in the profession/discipline concerned along with appropriate and effective use of relevant competencies;
  • Is not just problem-based but solutions oriented; involves doing not just knowing;
  • Has a whole-of-program focus;
  • Directly relates to what has been learnt;
  • Produces representations of what students can do rather than just a grade;
  • Can be digitally enabled;
  • Is, whenever possible, dilemma-based /’wicked’ (Rittel &Webber, 1973)/ real-world focused/’authentic’ (Wiggins, 1993), and demonstrably relevant to effective early career practice;
  • Can be used for learning (formative) as well as for assessment (summative);
  • Is scalable.

Types of ‘powerful’ assessment

The typology for powerful assessment below and the examples which follow were provided in workshops held from 2014-16 as part of an Office for Learning and Teaching National Senior Teaching Fellowship on assuring achievement standards and the quality of assessment. 

Our gratitude goes to all of the participants for their contributions. It is important to note that some assessment tasks can involve more than one type of ‘powerful’ assessment.