Kathryn Kendon, Director of Student and Academic Services and the University Academic Registrar, talks about the role of the assessment and feedback policy at the University of Northampton.

The QAA sets the following expectation for assessment design and practice.

“Higher education providers operate equitable, valid and reliable processes of assessment, including for the recognition of prior learning, which enable every student to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes for the credit or qualification being sought.” (QAA Chapter B6, Expectation)

As mentioned in the How do we Assess section, good assessment should be:


… fit for purpose, timely, relevant and engaging

Good assessment practice has a clear what, where, when, why and how. We’ve covered much of the ‘why’ in the previous sections. The remaining elements form the main body of section 1.4, Assessment Design Guidance.


… of knowledge and skills, and of academic judgement

Good assessment practice will do more than enable the demonstration of subject knowledge, and subject and key skills. It will be seamlessly integrated in to the learning journey, providing clear pathways for progression and improvement, building on prior learning. Purpose, expectations and standards will be explicitly outlined, in order to raise aspirations, as well as help learners to evaluate their own work and develop judgement about their own capabilities and progress. Timely feedback will create genuine opportunities for improvement.


… adaptive, iterative, collaborative, data driven

Assessment and feedback form part of a wider learning dialogue, addressing understanding of expectations and goals, as well as development toward them (Nicol 2010a). Good assessment will be informed by dialogue around the assessment criteria, design and process. Feedback from students, peers and other stakeholders will inform the design in a proactive as well as a reactive way. Building in continuous evaluation of validity and efficacy, and being responsive to changing needs and constraints means that assessment can provide development opportunities for staff as well as students.