Assessment methods

To effectively evaluate whether your students meet a subject's learning outcomes, you need to choose an appropriate assessment method.


Different assessment methods allow you to assess different skills. For example, while one method may ask students to demonstrate analytical skills, another may focus on collaboration. The method of assessment chosen will then inform the selection of an appropriate task.

To choose an appropriate assessment method, you must understand:

  • the subject's learning outcomes
  • the skills and knowledge associated with those learning outcomes
  • which assessment methods will allow your students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge.

Considering these three aspects puts the student and their learning at the centre of learning design.

Definitions and examples

You can also download a PDF table of the definitions and examples.

Please note that these are examples and not an exhaustive and complete list.

Method of AssessmentDefinitions Type of Assessment


Apply concepts and skills to known and new contexts

Many assessment types can be aligned with this method- the discriminator for an application task is that it provides an authentic context for application of knowledge and skills.

  • Action plan for a specific scenario
  • Clinical simulation
  • Discussion of an application scenario
  • Scenarios/case studies
  • Viva Voce/ Interactive orals focused on application
  • Problem solving related to an authentic scenario
  • Debate related to an issue or scenario
  • Interview
  • Moot trial
  • Role play


Draw connections between complex ideas, think critically, make judgments, and develop solutions.

(Developing arguments, reflecting, evaluating, assessing, judging, problem solving)

  • Written task (essay, report, reflective paper, etc.)
  • Oral presentation- in person or via video or recorded- focused on a case
  • Journal
  • Letter of advice to...
  • Prepare a committee briefing paper for a specific meeting
  • Book review (or article)
  • Newspaper article
  • Comment/critique of a theoretical perspective


Activity in a clinic location that imitates a situation or process, to demonstrate learning and practical skills.

(Applying theory, experiential learning, documenting, recording, observing, reporting, discussion, diagnosis)

  • Simulation
  • Clinical practice
  • Roleplay
  • Clinical discussion


Work with others on a defined task and in ways where every individual contributes.

If your assessment involves group work, ensure it complies with the Assessment – Conduct of Coursework Assessment and Examinations Procedure Guidelines on group assessment work.

  • Project e.g., written task
  • Product co-creation
  • Review
  • Role play
  • Performance
  • Presentation
  • Discussion
  • Debate
  • Pitch


Facilitate insight or change based on new and original approaches. This may involve a creative process and/or lead to a new and/or original product.

(Imagining, visualising, designing, producing, creating, innovating, performing)

  • Portfolio
  • Performance
  • Interactive presentation
  • Hypothetical response
  • Innovation project
  • Poetry/ creative writing
  • Visual response/artwork
  • Designed product/experience


Engage in disciplined inquiry to make judgements based on evidence.

(Questioning assumptions and bias, making judgements using a set of steps, justifying decisions and judgements, arguing, describing, advocating, negotiating, presenting)

  • Written task (essay, report, reflective paper, etc.)
  • Oral presentation- in person or via video or recorded
  • Discussion/debate/role play Participate in a “Court of Enquiry”
  • Response to observation of real or simulated professional practice


Recall facts and basic concepts and explain ideas or concepts to demonstrate knowledge and understanding.

(Recalling, describing, reporting, recounting, recognising, identifying, relating, and interrelating)

  • Written examination/test including multiple choice questions, short answer questions
  • Oral examination
  • Report
  • Comment on the accuracy of a set of records
  • Devise an encyclopaedia entry
  • Produce an A–Z of ... Write an answer to a client’s question
  • Written assessment including short answer questions, true/false/ multiple choice questions
  • Add or edit to a Wikipedia article


Participate in work undertaken outside the University to gain knowledge through direct contact and observation.

(Applying theory, experiential learning, documenting, recording, observing, reporting, discussion, diagnosis)

  • Observation of professional practice e.g., farm visits
  • Data gathering and analysis
  • Evaluation of data gathering methods

Meta Cognitive

Plan a task, monitor progress, self-assess, and adjust in accordance with self- assessment and understanding one’s own knowledge.

(Identifying problems, posing problems, defining problems, analysing data, reviewing, designing experiments, planning, applying information)

  • Reflecting on a previous assessment task and revising
  • Evaluating progress toward completion of a task i.e., tracking or keeping a journal
  • Evaluating comprehension of a problem
  • Problem scenario including identifying problems and ways to solve the problem
  • Committee of enquiry planning document and/or report
  • Draft application for a research grant
  • Case analysis
  • Conference paper (or notes for a conference paper including bibliography)
  • Group project including allocation of roles related to knowledge, identification of processes and processes of review and reporting.


Participate in a hands-on activity that involves practical experience.

(Applying theory, problem solving, experiential learning, documenting, recording, observing, reporting)

  • Simulation
  • Laboratory work- application of skills and knowledge to a practical task
  • Project leading to creation of a product
  • Experiments or testing - record, analyse data and evaluate methods


Identify and/or perform procedures and demonstrate techniques.

(Computation, taking readings, using equipment, following laboratory procedures, following protocols, carrying out instructions)

  • Step-by-step demonstration (in person, via video etc)
  • Role play focused on procedures
  • Produce a poster/video/ multi-media presentation based on procedural information
  • Prepare an illustrated manual on using the equipment, for a particular audience
  • Observation and reporting of real or simulated professional practice


Reflect on experiences to support and guide learning, manage, and develop oneself.

(Reflecting, questioning, revising, assessing what is known and not known, being self-directed, managing time, managing tasks, organising)

  • Written task (essay, report, reflective paper, etc.)
  • Journal
  • Portfolio
  • Learning contract
  • Action Plan


Accessing, managing, and communicating information to answer a question or for a specific purpose.

(Researching, investigating, interpreting, organising, reviewing, and paraphrasing information. Collecting data, searching, observing, interpreting, and managing information sources)

  • Written task (essay, report, reflective paper, etc.)
  • Journal article
  • News article or presentation
  • Journal Portfolio
  • Learning contract
  • Debate/discussion/role play

Work Integrated Learning [WIL]

Participate in authentic work-activities or activities closely related to work, as part of university-based learning

  • Workplace simulations
  • Skills lab
  • Role-plays
  • Case studies

Source: Teaching @UNSW | Assessment Toolkit Aligning Assessment with Outcomes Document Version Date 07/08/2015 (Dunn, 2010, adapted from Nightingale et al., 1996). University of New South Wales

Methods of assessment and assessment types

Methods of assessment can also be aligned with types of assessment, allowing for types of assessment to be altered at the offering level (ie. in subject outlines) without changing the assessment method.

If your criteria and standards focus on the skills and knowledge to be assessed, you can change elements such as:

  • format
  • length
  • detail of task
  • form of task.

Other elements should remain the same. These include:

  • number of assessment tasks
  • weighting
  • category
  • method.

See the full list of assessment types