Types of Assessment Methods in Learning

By Zafar Iqbal  


The essay is a traditional and widely used form of prescriptive structured prose. Essays are useful for judging learner’s expression and individuality and assessment of transferable skills. Nevertheless, they take a long time for student and assessors to mark and also lack of equality and subjectivity is higher. They also compromise the validity.


Assignments are learning tasks used for the assessment of set learning objectives or fixed sections of particular questions. Assignments are presented in a variety of written or oral forms such as written answers to tasks, report, posters, and audio-visual productions and so on.


Portfolios can reflect the learner’s development and illustrate their progression as a series of activities, observations and processes are monitored. For instance, portfolios are commonly used for the benefit of professional bodies.  Their authenticity is easier to confirm. However, similar to essays portfolios are time consuming for learners and assessors.  Objectivity is compromised as it is difficult to judge individuals equally and fairly.


Examinations are conventional method of assessment mostly completed in a prescribed time and supervised by the invigilators to ensure students own work. Most of the examiners use model questions or repeated papers which encourage rote learning and lack critical thinking and creativity.

Dissertation and Thesis

They are commonly used for the individual nature of learning and investigation of specific topics or issues.   Sometime dissertations or theses are used in combination of oral via which requires the question and answer sessions with the learner. They can consume more time.

Self and peer assessment

Self-assessment is challenging method; however, it could be developed among learners through repeatedly applying in different situations.  It involves learners’ own judgment of their performance and learning.  It is an effective method for development of self-reflection, a sense of responsibility, critique and judgement skills. It also helps them to become more autonomous learners and give them awareness about their shortcomings. However, learners could be subjective.  Learners can assess their peer work which encourages them to critically evaluate each other’s performance in a comparative context about the strengths and weaknesses of their work. It supports multiple assessments as students can generate more assessment about their colleagues.  Validity, impartiality and objectivity could be comprised by the friendship or animosity among the learners or because of their lack of expertise, experience and knowledge.




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