A101: Introducing the Principles of Assessment

A101: Introducing the Principles of Assessment

Man studying with laptop computer
Date: 21 Sep - 22 Nov 2020 Venue: Online course (9 weeks). Average 3hrs per week.
Type: Online course Fee: Monitored - £295, Peer supported - £245

Autumn 2020: 21 Sept - 22 Nov 2020 Book: Register for the Autumn 2020 course
Tim Oates
A101 aims to address the need for a definitive, accessible understanding of assessment principles – it's interesting and engaging in its own right, but it also serves as a foundation for higher level professional development.”
Tim Oates CBE, Group Director of Assessment Research and Development, Cambridge Assessment

A101: Introducing the Principles of Assessment is a nine week, online course for anyone with an interest in educational assessment and its role in society today, including examiners, assessment writers, professional bodies, teachers, lecturers and those working for exam boards/awarding organisations.

  • No previous knowledge or experience needed
  • Average 3 hours per week over nine weeks
  • Choice of delivery models:
    • Monitored - Online group course delivered over 9 weeks featuring Monitor/Educator, discussion forum and journal
    • Peer supported - Online group course delivered over 9 weeks featuring discussion forum and journal
  • Certification option for both models.

The course covers:

  • Validity
  • Reliability
  • Fairness
  • Standards
  • Comparability
  • Practicality and manageability of assessment

Course outline

Week 1 Induction – aim is for participant to become familiar with the website so that they are confident with the online learning environment before the first week. Participants are required to:
  • Complete a forum etiquette quiz to so that they are confident with using the online forum
  • Complete their profile (i.e. name, email, additional relevant information)
  • Introduce themselves to their fellow participants by posting a message in the forum.
Week 2 Educational assessment - explores ideas around what educational assessment is, who it is for and its different purposes.
Week 3 Validity - looks at a number of definitions and considers what impact a lack of validity may have on the quality of an assessment.
Week 4 Reliability - considers:
  • What factors might affect reliability and how we might attempt to mitigate the effects of these.
  • Different types of assessment tools and what issues around reliability there may be in each of them.
Week 5 Fairness - considers both fairness and the avoidance of bias so that you are able to apply your knowledge to the assessments that you deal with.
Week 6 Standards - explores what we mean by standards in the context of educational assessment, how different groups may interpret standards, and some of the issues around maintaining standards.
Week 7 Comparability - considers some of the ways in which we compare assessments and why this is an important exercise. You will also have the chance to critique a qualification you are familiar with.
Week 8 Practicality and manageability - explores what factors make assessments practical and manageable to deliver and run and consider the different needs of the stakeholders.
Week 9 Review and evaluation - reviews all the topics covered and reflects on what we’ve learned. Participants will be required to complete the course evaluation.

Who should attend?

This course has been created for anyone with an interest in educational assessment and its role in society today, including examiners, assessment writers, professional bodies, teachers, lecturers and those working for exam boards/awarding organisations. Because the course is online, it can be accessed from anywhere in the world. 

What you will learn

The course covers validity, reliability, fairness, standards, comparability, practicality and manageability of assessment. You don't need any knowledge or experience to participate and the course is designed so you can follow it at a time and place which is convenient to you.

How you will learn

A101 is an interactive online course which means that alongside weekly reading and video content, you'll also learn through participating in forum discussions with fellow students.

How much does it cost?

  • Monitored - Online group course delivered over 9 weeks featuring Monitor/Educator, discussion forum and journal - £295 per person
  • Peer supported - Online group course delivered over 9 weeks featuring discussion forum and journal - £245 per person

How to enrol

Bookings are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. We will confirm your place on the course once the payment has been received. Payment can be made by a credit or debit card (not incl. American Express) or by invoice.


Is attendance on the course required 9-5pm for the full 9 weeks? Or can the course content be accessed in your own time?

This online course continues for 9 weeks, but there is no set times that you need to access the course. The weekly tasks can be completed whenever fits in with your existing schedule. We anticipate that you would need to allocate an average of 3 hours per week for study time.

What level of English do I need to be able to complete the course?

The course is delivered in English so participants are required to have sufficient competence in English to participate in the training. All participants should have English language competence comparable to Level B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). We recommend a minimum requirement of 5.5 on the International English Language Testing System. Further information may be obtained through the IELTS website.

B2 Vantage or upper intermediate

  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
  • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
  • Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

What are the differences between the Monitored and Peer supported courses?

The Monitored course offers a dedicated, experienced assessment expert who monitors conversation, contributes to the discussion forum and offers support to individual participants where appropriate. You may prefer the Peer supported course if you would rather learn through group discussion only.

My place on the course is now confirmed, what happens next?

If you are an existing user of our VLE then you can log in with your usual username and password. If you are a new VLE user you will receive an automated email with your login information nearer to the course start date.

We will create new accounts and enrolments in the week before the course begins, so please let us know if you don’t receive your login details three days prior to the course start date.

The A101 material is available from 5pm (UK time) on Fridays, but the each week officially begins on Monday at 12:00 noon (UK time).

What kind of certification is available upon completion of the course?

To receive a Statement of Participation you must provide evidence of your learning and participation by logging into each week’s lesson, completing the activities, marking the activities as completed and posting weekly on the discussion forum. In addition to this, successful completion of an end of course assignment will enable you to claim a Certificate of Achievement. Both our Certificate and Statement are awarded by Cambridge Assessment and include the Cambridge Assessment logo and the University of Cambridge’s Board of Executive and Professional Education logo.

Can I have some more details on the end of course assignment?

The purpose of the optional assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to reflect on all the topics covered in the course and to apply this learning to an issue in educational assessment that interests you. The assignment should be 1500-2000 words and will be used as evidence that you have worked through the course material and reflected on what you have been learning.

Remember, the assignment is optional. However, if you want to claim a Certificate of Achievement, successfully completing the assignment is a requirement. If you choose to complete the assignment, you have four weeks to submit after the course has finished.

Contact the Network

Please contact us for further information about the Network events and bespoke training.

Thank you so much for arranging such an excellent course. 

I have learnt so many things that will help in my teaching and learning as well as with setting and marking assessments.”

Muhammad Nawaz

Deputy Curriculum Area Leader 

Jack Hunt School, UK

Even though I already had experience of assessing procedures, A101 made me question many of own techniques and knowledge. I learned from other’s experiences and feedback, and of course from the material and exercises.

I believe that reflecting on the ideas explored throughout the course has made me a more thoughtful and professional assessor.”

Dr Ana Lessa-Schmidt

Teacher and Assessor, Germany

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