​Qualities of effective formal assessment tasks

Effective assessment tasks are transparent and co-constructed so the learner knows the purpose of the task, what is expected and how the task will be assessed.

The type of assessment task set depends on the purpose of the task. Sometimes there is an emphasis on tasks that are authentic, open-ended and require deep understanding of an area of content. In other circumstances administering a simple multiple choice assessment will provide the practitioner with useful information. An effective assessment is always appropriate to its purpose and able to be readily administered by the practitioner.  In selecting an appropriate assessment, consideration is given to these characteristics: reliability, validity, inclusivity, objectivity and practicality.

Effective formal assessment tasks

Practitioners need access to a wide repertoire of assessment tasks to gather evidence of the different forms of learning across the curriculum. Increasingly as learning encourages more open-ended aspirations, tasks need to be developed that are fit for the purpose of gathering information about a wider variety of skills and understandings, for example critical and creative thinking and collaboration.

Practitioners provide learners with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understanding if the assessment tasks:

  • directly relate to the learning intentions or particular learning outcome
  • are explicit about what learners are required to do
  • are time efficient and manageable
  • include clear and explicit assessment criteria
  • provide challenge for the full range of learners being assessed
  • are fair to all students including those with additional needs
  • are scored or marked based on transparent rubrics
  • are appropriate to where learners are in their learning

Assessment criteria

Learners can effectively demonstrate what they know, understand and can do if they are provided with, or collaboratively develop with the practitioner, the assessment criteria for an assessment task. Effective assessment criteria:

  • are known to the learners​​
  • are clear and explicit
  • focus on the important criteria and substance of the task (not every tiny detail)
  • allow learners to achieve at a high level
  • provide for a range of quality in the work

Assessment materials

Informing learners about the materials or activities they are expected to submit for an assessment task ensures they have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understanding in the form expected by the practitioner and that all elements of a task are completed. Learners should be provided with:

  • stimulus material, case study, problem
  • questions/activities to be completed
  • assessment criteria or rubric
  • list of what must be submitted​​


Designing effective assessment tasks

An effective assessment task assesses what it is intended to measure. A practitioner who considers good design principles when creating an assessment task can be assured that their assessment task will be effective.

Read about how to design effective assessment tasks.












updated 16/01/2015