Characteristics that make up a ‘Quality’ Assessment Task

The NSW Department of Education and Training in 2008 produced a document that describes eight principles that highlight standard for assessing learning. 

  1. Assessment should be relevant – meaning that it should be directly linked to obtaining information about students’ knowledge as they relate to the syllabus outcomes.
  2. Assessment should be appropriate – it should provide information about a certain type of learning, as some may be more relevant than others.
  3. Assessment should be fair – it should give every student the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and not be disadvantaged by personal circumstances.
  4. Assessment should be accurate – it needs to be reliable in the way it measures students’ understanding
  5. Assessment should provide useful information – it should obtain information that can be used to enhance, modify and influence students’ future learning.
  6. Assessment should be integrated into the teaching and learning cycle – it is an ongoing process.
  7. Assessment should draw on a wide range of evidence – the outcomes of the assessment differ between tasks.
  8. Assessment should be manageable – the time spent on the task in appropriate.

NSW Department of Education and Training, 2008

Similarly the Queensland Department of Education describe four characteristics that make up a quality assessment task.

  1. Cognitive and Affective Expectations – this means a task that is intellectually stimulating that allows students to think critically about a topic.
  2. Authenticity – a task that is relevant and genuinely motivates students to achieve.
  3. Credibility – is the task assessing what it is supposed to be and do students have access to a rubric that clearly outlines the expectations for the task.
  4. Accessibility – a task needs to provide all students the same opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, and the language used or the task itself does not isolate some students from meeting the outcomes being assessed.

Queensland Department of Education, 2003

Both of these definitions are supported by what Churchill et al. (2013) describes as best practice assessment design, strategies and techniques.  This refers to fairness in assessment, transparency, educative assessments, validity and reliability.



Churchill, R., Ferguson, P., Godinho, S., Johnson, N., Keddie, A., Letts, W. et al. (2013). Teaching: Making a difference (2nd ed.). Milton, QLD: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

NSW Department of Education and Training. (2008). Principles of Assessment and Reporting in NSW Public Schools. Retrieved from

Queensland Department of Education. (2003). Design Decisions for Quality Assessment Tasks. Retrieved from 


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