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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning


Framework for Assessment 2022-23

During the pandemic, the University has provided annual guidance to help Faculties and Departments make decisions about assessment methods and modes. The current Framework for Assessment covers the period 2022-23 and provides a list of pre-approved assessment modes as well as options to consider alternative conditions of assessment in light of assessment and degree outcome data, or staff and student feedback.


Assessment Glossary

An A-Z of common and important terms relating to assessment, which aims to provide a point of reference for colleagues when thinking about assessment or reflecting on course design and delivery practices.

See also this exploration of commonly interchanged terms at Cambridge.


Foundations for Assessment: terms and concepts papers

This series of briefing papers has been prepared to supplement Cambridge's Framework of Assessment by providing fuller definitions and explanations of some key terms and concepts.

The Framework for Assessment includes a number of key terms, some of which benefit from clearer definition. In some instances, the ways in which these terms are used in Cambridge differs from their usage by the UK Quality Assurance Agency, the Office for Students, or from current practices and pedagogical scholarship on assessment in higher education. For example, there is an increasing expectation that assessment will be explicitly aligned to teaching activities and intended 'learning outcomes'. Other commonly used terms like 'assessment criteria' and 'grade descriptors' are foundational to marking, grading and classing practices, and therefore relevant to current and ongoing discussions in Cambridge and across the higher education sector about standards, awarding gaps and grade inflation.

In particular, Cambridge's rigorous personalised formative feedback in supervisions and emphasis on high-stakes end-of-year exams invites a clearer shared understanding of the connections between formative assessment (usually delivered by Colleges) and summative assessment (usually designed and delivered by Faculties and Departments, and most often taking the form of an examination). It is therefore important to ensure that there is a shared understanding and consistent use of these foundational terms.

Paper 1: Awarding gaps and assessment

This paper presents a rationale for developing a more diverse range of assessments and discusses connections between assessment and unexplained differences in students' educational outcomes ('awarding gaps').

Paper 2: Aligning assessment with teaching activities and learning outcomes

This paper discusses how students' learning and assessment practices can be enhanced by aligning intended learning outcomes with teaching and the ways in which formative assessment and feedback can help students to develop subject knowledge and subject capabilities that are measured in summative assessments.

Paper 3: Assessment design and strategies for student learning

This paper explains the rationale for well-designed assessment that considers intended learning outcomes and uses shared language and terms in clearly communicated assessment criteria and marking tools like assessment rubrics.

Further Reading

A selection of suggested further readings on assessment and feedback.