5.0 Criterion-Referenced Assessment

Criterion-Referenced Assessment (CRA) has been widely adopted in recent times because it seeks a fairer and more accountable assessment practice than Norm-Referencing Assessment (NRA). CRA is the process of evaluating and grading students’ learning against a set of pre-specified criteria without reference to the achievement of others. By performing CRA means that academic staff evaluates students achievement based on a set of criteria that clearly illustrates descriptors indicates mastery of learning outcomes in accordance with established standards. Descriptor refers to a required quality or dimension which will determine the level of students’ achievements. In practice, the selection of criteria are very dependent on the type of assignment as well as the required level of knowledge and skills of a course. Criteria evaluated may also include generic skills such as communication skills, problem solving skills, team working skills, entrepreneurial, lifelong learning and information management skills, leadership and others.

5.1 Benefits of Using CRA

Implementing CRA benefits all students and academic staff. These include;
i . guiding and enhancing student’s focus on the task of learning
ii . assisting learning as the use of standards and criteria can explain the mastery of content and skills required in each task.
iii motivating students to improve through effective feedback
iv . ensuring students’ grades are determine based on clear standards and criteria.
v . increasing transparency in assigning grades that students earn for their work.


5.2 Effective Implementation of CRA

Generally, CRA uses a measurement tool called rubric.
i. Rubric containing the standards and assessment criteria is used consistently with the course objectives.
ii. Assessment rubric must meet the assessment criteria. Inconsistency and ambiguity in the selection of evaluation criteria will cause confusion in deciding on the grades.
iii. Each assessment criteria in the rubric must be measured based on the weighted raw scores or based on the percentage of the total score.
iv. The same rubric is applied consistently for all programs offered at the faculty to facilitate comparisons made between courses and programs.