A101: Introducing the Principles of Assessment

A101: Introducing the Principles of Assessment Man studying with laptop computer
Date: 10 Jun 2024 - 11 Aug 2024 Venue: Online
Type: Scheduled (9 weeks) or Self-study Fee: From £265.50 to £345

Course options: Monitored - £345 (Members - £310.50), Peer supported - £295 (Members - £265.50),
Self-study - £295 (Members - £265.50)

Join Cambridge Assessment Network as a member and get 10% discount on all courses.

Register for Jun 2024 course or to start immediately book the A101 self-study course.

Bookings for Jun course close 7 Jun 2024 at 12pm (UK time)

A101: Introducing the Principles of Assessment is a CPD accredited online course that will improve your assessment knowledge, challenge your assumptions, and make an impact on your day-to-day practice.

Available courses

Self-study: Immediate start Book: Register for Self-study course
Jun 2024: 10 Jun-11 Aug 2024 Book: Register for Jun 2024 course
Sep 2024: 9 Sep-10 Nov 2024 Book: Register for Sep 2024 course

All courses are accredited for continuing professional development (27-30 hours of CPD), with certification and digital badges available on successful completion.

During the course you'll: 

  • Build your understanding of the principles of assessment, with modules covering Validity, Reliability, Fairness, Standards, Comparability and Practicality and manageability of assessment.
  • Gain the vocabulary and knowledge to discuss key assessment concepts confidently in your day-to-day work.
  • Reflect on the principles of assessment and what they mean in practice.
  • Have anytime access to our virtual learning environment to learn flexibly in your own time.
  • Connect and learn with other practitioners as you discuss key issues in assessment and work through course action points.

Course info

  • This introductory course is suitable for examiners, assessment writers, professional bodies, teachers, lecturers and those working for exam boards or awarding organisations.
  • No previous knowledge or experience is 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
    • Self-study - Online course with 9 weeks content available to work through at your own pace*

      *Max of 150 days allowed

  • Digital badges awarded and certification option for all models.
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 University Press & Assessment

Learning outcomes

  • Define the purposes of assessment and how assessment can be used in different ways.
  • Understand key principles underpinning effective assessment, including validity, reliability, fairness, impact and practicality.
  • Explore and evaluate issues with the principles of assessment relevant to your practice.
  • Understand standards and comparability, and how they are connected to the principles 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 with weekly reading and video content. In the Monitored option, 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 - £345 per person (Members fee: £310.50)
  • Peer supported - Online group course delivered over 9 weeks featuring discussion forum and journal - £295 per person (Members fee: £265.50)
  • Self-study - Online course with 9 weeks content available to work through at your own pace* - £295 per person (Members fee: £265.50)

    *Max of 150 days allowed

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?

The Monitored and Peer supported options of the course continue for 9 weeks, but there are 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 scheduled 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?

For scheduled courses, you will receive an email with joining instructions on the Friday afternoon before the course starts. Please get in touch if you don't receive the email by the Saturday before the course starts and make sure to check any junk or spam folders first.

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

For self-study courses, you will receive a confirmation email with joining instructions a short time after booking and paying for the course. Please get in touch if you don't receive the email and we will take a look in case there was an issue with payment, but make sure to check any junk or spam folders first.

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

Statement of Participation (Certificate and digital badge)

  • You must provide evidence of your learning and participation by logging into each of the week’s lessons, completing the activities, marking the activities as completed and posting weekly on the discussion forum.

Certificate of Achievement (Certificate and digital badge)

  • In addition to the above, successful completion of an optional end of course assignment will enable you to claim a Certificate of Achievement.

This course is CPD accredited and earns 27 hours of CPD when the completion criteria are fulfilled. An extra 3 hours of CPD is awarded with an assignment pass.

Both our Statement of Participation and Certificate of Achievement are awarded by Cambridge Assessment and include the CPD accreditation 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 three weeks to submit after the course has finished.

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