Assessment methods are ways in which evidence can be collected from a learner and assessed
to confirm that the learner has the appropriate skills and knowledge to pass a qualification.
Assessment methods are sometimes specified within a qualification or assessment strategy so
please carefully read the qualification specification and any associated assessment strategy and
support documentation that Highfield provides.
Where knowledge evidence is required, appropriate assessment methods would be methods
that require the learner to speak of or write of what they know. So, questions, assignments,
discussions and so on.
Where performance, skills or competence evidence is required some qualifications require
observations to take place of the learner completing a task. However, some qualifications allow
for other assessment methods that may be more appropriate to the nature of the qualification
such as witness testimony, simulation, role play or reflective accounts where the learner speaks
or writes about what they did in a situation that actually took place.
Here are some common assessment methods:
Observation - this is the most natural way to collect evidence of a learner’s competence. The
assessor should state clearly what they have seen the learner do and map this against the
relevant assessment criteria. Where an assessor is observing a group of learners, the observation
they put into the learner’s portfolio must be individual to the learner e.g., what did that
particular learner act, speak, work or perform?
Please note, there may be circumstances within a qualification where observation is not
appropriate. Please always consider confidentiality, dignity and privacy when considering
observation as an option.
Expert/Witness Testimony - this is where another person states what the learner has done. As
with observation, this must be individual to the learner and must be specific in how it meets
the assessment criteria. It is important that the witness used is in a position to understand what
needs to be assessed, what would meet the criteria sufficiently and is briefed on the level of
detail they should provide to the assessor. It is good practice to give examples of how the criteria
have been met by writing exactly what the learner did to meet the criteria and not just simply
stating that the criteria have been met.
A witness testimony should not be used to claim a learner’s knowledge, this would need to be
captured through other methods as follows.
Questioning - this can be written or verbal. The learner should answer the question and ensure
that the verb has been met. Verbs such as describe, evaluate and analyse would require written
sentences rather than the verb ‘list’.
Discussion – this should be planned with the learner, so they are aware of what is to be
discussed. This should be more like a conversation than a question-and-answer session. If led
correctly, the discussion could also link into competence evidence where the learner may discuss
things they have done, situations they have experienced and the actions they have taken. The
discussion could be recorded and supplied as evidence as this adds to the authentication of the