Skip to main content

Assessment Types – Guidance and Marking Criteria

This policy should be read in conjunction with:

  • The University's Learning and Teaching Handbook, and in particular the Principles of Assessment.
  • Our glossary, which provides an explanation of many of the key terms below.

For a more detailed overview of our assessment types, see: Assessment Types - Overview

There are many different ways of assessing student learning. We encourage TEIs to use a wide range of forms of assessment, and to find creative in thinking about the activities that might allow students to develop and display their achievement of the Learning Outcomes for any given module. TEIs should make sure that there is a good fit between assessment types and learning outcomes: some assessment types will not work well for some kinds of learning outcome.

There is a widespread myth that Durham requires primarily essay-based assessment, or that each module has to include a substantial written assignment – but this is not the case. Many other approaches are possible. If TEIs can think of an activity that will allow students to develop and display that learning, and that will allow markers to assess it fairly, it is very likely already to be possible within the Common Awards Framework. If you want to implement a form of assessment that is not covered below, please contact the Common Awards Team. It may well still be possible.

The guidance below sets out the forms of assessment that we currently recognise under the Common Awards Framework, and how to use them – but we encourage TEIs to interpret this list creatively. For instance: the variety of different activities that can be included under ‘project’ type, ‘practical skill’, ‘portfolio’ or ‘written assignment’, is almost endless.

 

Guidelines

Criteria

Assessed Conversation

Assessed Conversations

Assessed Conversation - All Levels

Assessed Discussions

Assessed Discussions

Assessed Discussions - All Levels

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

*

Dissertation

*

*

Essays and Other Written Assignments

Essays and Other Written Assignments

Essays and Other Written Assignments - All Levels

Group Projects

Group Projects

See Group Projects

Literature Reviews

Literature Reviews

*

Oral Presentations

Oral Presentations

Oral Presentations - All Levels

Oral Presentations and Commentary

**

Oral Presentations and Commentary - All Levels

Placement and Visit Reports

Placement and Visit Reports

Placement and Visit Reports - All Levels

Portfolios

Portfolios

Portfolios - All Levels

Practical Skills

Practical Skills

Practical Skills - All Levels

Projects

Projects

Projects and Group Projects - All Levels

Reflective Learning Journals

Reflective Learning Journals

Reflective Journals and Written Theological Reflection - All Levels

Resources for Others

Resources for Others

Resources for Others - All Levels

Short Tests

Short Tests

***

Written Examinations

Written Examinations

*

Written Theological Reflections

Written Theological Reflections

See Reflective Learning

Journals

A moderation record sheet (produced by the Continuing Implementation Group) is also available, in the templates and forms section, for recording the results of moderation of a whole batch of pieces of work, for use if required. It is not compulsory.

* Use the 'Essays and other written assignments' criteria

** Use the 'Oral presentations' guidance

*** Most short tests generate a straightforward numerical score. TEIs should consult our page on the principles for Numerical Marking for information on how to convert scores into marks.

Using assessment criteria

The assessment criteria don't make sense on their own. They need to be used in conjunction with the Intended Learning Outcomes on the relevant module outline. Used together, markers can judge what mark to give based on how fully and with what clarity and insight students have met those learning outcomes.

The assessment criteria themselves are, to a certain extent, differentiated by level; module learning outcomes are much more thoroughly differentiated by level. It is the combination of the two which should help markers and students understand how marking differs from level to level.

Within the common parameters and standards set across the Common Awards scheme, it is possible for TEIs to set very different assignments for students. The guidance provided here is therefore necessarily generic. TEIs are encouraged to give students more detailed guidance about what is expected for particular assignments. See our Assessment Design page for more information on the guidelines when developing and setting assessments for programmes. 

Please note that all the guidance documents and assessment criteria presented here have been developed by the Continuing Implementation Group (CIG), as a way of interpreting the University's generic assessment criteria for a Common Awards context.