Activity 4

Unpacking Boud’s 7 propositions.

1. Assessment for Learning

Proposition: Assessment should be designed to promote learning, not just measure it.

Supporting literature: Boud and Molloy (2013) argue that feedback should be integral to the learning process, emphasising the need for assessments that foster continuous learning rather than merely evaluating performance.

Contradicting literature: Some critics argue that the focus on formative assessment can detract from the summative assessments that are often required for accreditation and standardisation purposes (Winstone & Carless, 2019).

Integration with assessment practices: The integration of this proposition depends on the context of the assessment. With certification schemes such as ISO17024, no proprietary training is permitted which makes the assessment a direct-entry with no prior learner engagement. With in the IPSQA assessment framework, candidates are given feedback in addition to the binary result of pass or fail (used because competent and not yet competent does not always translate well into other languages and cultures). This feedback helps candidates with preparing for re-assessment, learning from any minor issues (discrepancies), as well as providing advice on future certifications the candidate could strive for.

2. Students as Partners

Proposition: Students should be active participants in the assessment process, developing their capacity for self- and peer-assessment.

Supporting literature: Tai et al. (2018) highlight the importance of developing evaluative judgment in students, enabling them to make informed decisions about the quality of their work and that of others.

Contradicting literature: There is concern that not all students are equally prepared or willing to engage in self- and peer-assessment, which can lead to inconsistencies and biases (Ibarra-Sáiz, Rodríguez-Gómez, & Boud, 2020).

Integration with assessment practices: Within the IPSQA assessment practices, candidates always get to self-evaluate at the assessment result meeting/debrief. This allows candidates to be self-aware and develop their critical thinking but to also take ownership of their performance. Consideration has to be given around candidate privacy and the right for their assessment result to be kept confidential. This can limit the level of peer-assessment for end-point certification assessments like those under ISO17024.

3. Assessment for Induction

Proposition: Assessment should systematically develop the skills and knowledge required for future learning and professional practice.

Supporting literature: Boud and Soler (2016) discuss sustainable assessment practices that prepare students for lifelong learning and adaptability in their professional careers.

Contradicting literature: Some educators argue that the immediate pressures of curriculum requirements and standardised testing can limit the ability to focus on long-term skill development (Kift, Nelson, & Clarke, 2010).

Integration with assessment practices: Where assessment is part of an educational pathway, this is ideal. However, this purist approach is not always feasible or justifiable to stakeholders such as employers who may see the development of these peripheral skills as unnecessary. That said, scaffolding of learning that incorporates assessment can build learner skills and knowledge for future learning.

4. Integrative Assessment Design

Proposition: Assessment should be designed holistically across subjects and programs.

Supporting literature: Clarke and Boud (2018) advocate for portfolio assessments that integrate learning across different courses, providing a more comprehensive evaluation of student capabilities.

Contradicting literature: Implementing integrative assessments can be challenging due to institutional constraints and the need for coordination across departments (Henderson et al., 2019).

Integration with assessment practices: Having subject area working groups is an example of how different certifications (or courses in this assignments context) can have standards and respective assessment tools designed holistically. The use of portfolio assessment is common to IPSQA’s Certificate in Public Safety series, where professional requirements (Part C) often involve the use of a portfolio that includes logbooks, supervisor verification, work samples and the like.

 5. Learning-Oriented Assessment Production

Proposition: Assessment tasks should produce enduring learning, developing students’ ability to learn and assess in unfamiliar contexts.

Supporting Literature: Boud and Molloy (2013) emphasise the design of feedback mechanisms that support ongoing learning and adaptability.

Contradicting Literature: Critics argue that the focus on long-term learning outcomes can sometimes overlook the immediate needs and pressures faced by students (Winstone & Boud, 2020).

Integration with assessment practice: Similar to the proposition of Assessment for Induction, the reality of stakeholders in a commercial environment makes this not always easy to implement. However, practical assessments (Part B under IPSQA) can be constructed using unfamiliar and challenging scenarios to problem-solve which also serves to create learning from the assessment experience.

 6. Feedback for Learning

Proposition: Feedback should be timely and forward-looking to support current and future learning.

Supporting Literature: Carless and Boud (2018) discuss the development of student feedback literacy, which is crucial for the effective uptake and application of feedback.

Contradicting Literature: There are challenges in ensuring that feedback is consistently timely and constructive, given the varying workloads and resource constraints in educational institutions (Henderson et al., 2019).

Integration with assessment practice: Feedback is important and within all the ISO17024 certification schemes offered by IPSQA, the assessor is required to provide written feedback which is discussed with the candidate at the assessment debrief, regardless of the assessment outcome.

 7. Sustainable Assessment

Proposition: Assessment should develop students’ ability to judge their own work and that of others, supporting lifelong learning.

Supporting Literature: Boud and Soler (2016) revisit sustainable assessment practices, emphasising their importance in fostering lifelong learning and self-regulation.

Contradicting Literature: Some educators express concerns that the emphasis on self-assessment may not be suitable for all disciplines, particularly those requiring objective measurements and standardised testing (Ibarra-Sáiz, Rodríguez-Gómez, & Boud, 2020).

Integration with assessment practice: The IPSQA ISO17024 certification schemes require re-assessment (usually every three years). Unlike units of competency, the learning is required to maintain their skills and knowledge and undergo re-certification which promotes lifelong learning as many of the schemes require continuing professional development over and above the standard’s performance criteria.


Boud, D., & Associates. (2010). Assessment 2020: Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education. Sydney: Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

Boud, D., & Molloy, E. (2013). Rethinking models of feedback for learning: The challenge of design. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(6), 698-712.

Boud, D., & Soler, R. (2016). Sustainable assessment revisited. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 41(3), 400-413.

Carless, D., & Boud, D. (2018). The development of student feedback literacy: Enabling uptake of feedback. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(8), 1315-1325.

Clarke, J., & Boud, D. (2018). Refocusing portfolio assessment: Curating for feedback and portrayal. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 55(4), 479-486.

Henderson, M., Ryan, T., Boud, D., Dawson, P., Phillips, M., Molloy, E., & Mahoney, P. (2019). The usefulness of feedback. Active Learning in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1177/1469787419872393

Ibarra-Sáiz, M. S., Rodríguez-Gómez, G., & Boud, D. (2020). Developing student competence through peer assessment: The role of feedback, self-regulation and evaluative judgement. Higher Education, 80, 137-156. DOI: 10.1007/s10734-019-00469-2

Kift, S., Nelson, K., & Clarke, J. (2010). Transition pedagogy: A third generation approach to FYE – A case study of policy and practice for the higher education sector. The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, 1(1), 1-20.

Tai, J., Ajjawi, R., Boud, D., Dawson, P., & Panadero, E. (2018). Developing evaluative judgement: Enabling students to make decisions about the quality of work. Higher Education, 76, 467–481.

Winstone, N. E., & Boud, D. (2020). The need to disentangle assessment and feedback in higher education. Studies in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2020.1779687

Winstone, N., & Carless, D. (2019). Designing Effective Feedback Processes in Higher Education: A Learning-Focused Approach. London: Routledge.