Assessment Design: types of assessment task

Performance or Show

What is it?

Students can use performances or shows to demonstrate a synthesis of their creative work. They are most commonly used in creative disciplines such as art, design, drama, music, and dance, but there is no reason why they can’t be used in other areas.

Recommended levels:


Suitable for groups?


Things to think about

You need to be clear about the purpose of the performance or show and the actual or intended audience in relation to the learning outcomes of the module. If a student is presenting research findings, will the performance be sufficient, or do you want to see supporting information, such as a logbook or work in progress? If one of the main purposes was to get students to produce a group product, then do you want them to explain how they worked together, and if so, should they do this in a separate submission?

You can assess the presentation using tutor’s marks alone, or you can also include an element of peer assessment. For this kind of event-based assessment, we would recommend having two assessors present who should complete the mark sheet independently before conferring to agree a final grade after the assessment. There may be an opportunity to involve the audience, or visitors to the show, in the assessment process. This could include potential employers. Additionally or alternatively, depending on context, the students could be asked to reflect on feedback from the audience or visitors.

You need to decide whether to give marks for the quality of the presentations of the performance or show, as well as for the content. You also need to be clear if you are going to penalise presenters who exceed or undershoot time or space allowances.

Assignment length

You need to take into account the time needed for the assessment and the size of any groups. How long do you need to spend on individual performances or spaces in a show? How many can you realistically judge accurately in one session? There will be disciplinary norms or expectations in creative disciplines. For those in other subject areas, think about the usual length of presentations as a rough guide to what you might expect from these types of tasks.

Group work

Performances and shows often lend themselves well to group work, as it is possible for work to be divided up by sharing out contributions, or by taking on roles in relation to design, production and performance. If students take on different roles, they will need to be encouraged to vary their roles during their academic careers so that they gain experience in a range of tasks.

Plagiarism Issues

If the presentation is used to present disciplinary content then plagiarism can be an issue as it may be for written assignments. You can reduce the plagiarism potential by asking for plans at various stages in the term and discussing the work with students at regular intervals, as well as on the day of the performance or show.


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