Assessment Design: types of assessment task

Competence Portfolio

What is it?

This type of portfolio asks students to show how required learning outcomes have been achieved. Typically, students would complete this kind of portfolio over the period of a unit or for the reconition of prior experience or learning (RP(E)L). They might be doing the work to be credited inside or outside the university (eg on work placement). Students usually present a portfolio which provides evidence to support how they can perform in particular roles or tasks. Some or all elements of the evidence may have been subject to formative assessment during the unit.

Recommended levels:

As students need to be able to reflect in a sophisticated way, this kind of portfolio is usually better used at levels 5 and 6.

Suitable for groups?


Things to think about

The list of skills for which students may claim achievement needs to be clear: it could include teamwork, initiative-taking, problem-solving, time management, communications, critical incident analysis and planning.

Portfolios can be time-consuming to mark, and this needs to be factored into the module planning.

If there is staged formative assessment, then there is a possibility for confusion between the formative and summative elements of the assessment. To reduce this, it is better not to give a mark for the formative elements – using a feedback sheet with the wording ‘if this had been for final assessment it would have received a mark in the range of ….’ would help to reduce confusion. Using letter grades in this formative feedback rather than percentages might also help.

Students will need guidance on reflective writing.

Assignment length

Students need guidance on the quantity of material to be included otherwise the workload for both students and staff may be unacceptable. Think about the 25% of unit time being spent on assessment activity and remember that this needs to include reflection on which evidence to include.

Group work

This kind of assignment is not suitable for groups as it makes claims for individual competence.

Plagiarism Issues

It is difficult to plagiarise this kind of material.


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