Global searching is not enabled.
Skip to main content

Assessment Methods and Instruments

Completion requirements

According to SAQA’s guidelines for integrated assessment, we should strive for the following in terms of assessment instruments.

Integrated assessment is put into practice by doing the following:

  • Assessing a number of outcomes together, [or]
  • Assessing a number of assessment criteria together, [or]
  • Assessing a number of unit standards together, [and]
  • Using a combination of assessment methods and instruments for an outcome/outcome; [and]
  • Collecting naturally occurring evidence (such as in a workplace setting), [and/or]
  • Acquiring evidence from other sources such as supervisor’s reports, testimonials, portfolios of work previously done, logbooks, journals, etc. (SAQA, 2001: 55).

Choosing the Correct Assessment Instrument to Use During the Assessment

In order to ensure that the instrument we choose for use during the assessment process meets the requirements to measure competence of the outcome that will be assessed, it is very important to analyse the unit standard and its associated outcomes and criteria very closely.

For assessment to be meaningful it should be fully integrated into teaching and learning and should guide decisions about the activities that will support and enhance learning.

"Integrated assessment should offer an opportunity to demonstrate the depth and breadth of learning at all stages and in a variety of ways throughout the learning programme.”

Assessment should not be an “add-on” used at the end of a learning programme in the form of a once-off written examination. This type of examination does not provide learners or educators with opportunities to determine the gaps in learning where remediation can be undertaken. Neither does a written examination generally attempt to assess the integration of learning in line with the purpose of a qualification. This does not mean that written examinations cannot be used as a form of assessment. However, an over-reliance on one form of assessment and assessing only one mode of learning is no longer defensible (SAQA, 2000).

This process of unit standard analysis is often referred to as unpacking a unit standard.

Once you have a clear understanding of what is required, then you can evaluate the assessment instruments available to you, to ensure that they are fit for purpose.

Specific Outcome Targeted

What verb is used in the SO? (What is the “thing” that the learner must ultimately be able to do?

Which is the outcome more related to?

Skills (An Action)

Knowledge (Understanding)

Assessment Criteria

What kind of Essential Embedded Knowledge are necessary to reach these criteria

What kinds of CCFO development are necessary in order to reach these criteria

How can I help the learner to get the foundational competence he/she needs?

How can I help the learner get the practical competence he/she needs?

What kinds of special attributes are related to the outcome and how can I help the learner to develop them?

Once you have “ideas” and “content” written here, it should satisfy the following statements:

The learner has background knowledge of…

The learner acts according to…

The learner knows and understands the following related to the task…

The learner is able to do the following…

The learner shows the following qualities and attributes…

Traditional forms of assessment, like tests and written assignments, are helpful to assess a person's knowledge and even to a certain extent the skills they may have. But competency is more than this. Competency is about whether a person can apply their knowledge and skills effectively in various contexts - about whether they can:

  • Find creative solutions to problems.
  • Work well in a team.

A learner is considered competent when he/she can demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and understanding of background information.
  • Practical, interpersonal, and specialist skills.
  • Application of their skills and knowledge in varied situations.

When considering assessment methods, it is particularly useful to think first about what qualities or abilities you are seeking to engender in the learners. Nightingale et. al. (1996) provide eight broad categories of learning outcomes which are listed in the guidelines for integrated assessment. Within each category some suitable methods are suggested.

Lecturer Broadcast: Click here to view an explanation about choosing the correct assessment instrument.