3 key principles of assessment

Assessment is an important learning tool. It shows us what we can do, how much we know and what we need to achieve to get to the next level. As Apprenticeship Trailblazers begin to develop assessments for their industries, reference to these three core principles will help confirm that standards are being met.


An assessment must assess what it is meant to assess. For example, if you want to know if a person can make something, you don’t ask them to write about it. While it might indicate that they know how to make it, a written assessment will not demonstrate that they can actually accomplish the task.


Each occupation and industry will have a single standard, creating the potential for thousands of apprentices in different workplaces to be assessed, over time, to that one standard. Therefore, an assessment must be easy to repeat and score consistently across time and location.


An assessment must be fair to every apprentice who takes it. All must have an equal chance of demonstrating competence to the standard, and assessment design and delivery must facilitate this. This means the assessment must be achievable and pitched at the right level for the competences being demonstrated. Learn more by viewing SQA’s hints and tips videos for trailblazers.