Assessment Methods and Types of Evidence

The following section gives information on the different assessment methods/types of evidence that support assessment of QCF units. The following assessment methods/types of evidence may be used to demonstrate competence.  It should be noted that the unit based approach of the QCF requires that assessment methods used enable units to be assessed individually. 

 Observation of Performance

Observation allows the assessor to see learners carrying out their work activities.  It will take place primarily in the workplace but can also be undertaken in a training scheme.  Natural discussion should take place where possible during observation, allowing the assessor to ask questions relating to what they are observing at the time.  Assessors must capture their observations either by a written report and/or other methods (e.g. video, audio recording).


This method of assessment can be used to ensure that the learner has knowledge and understanding to support their skills.  Questions can be used to check knowledge - these questions can either be verbal during or at the end of an observation, or they can be set in a written format in formal or informal conditions.  As some QCF units focus entirely on learners’ knowledge, assessors may encourage a variety of evidence to meet the assessment criteria – use of verbal and/or written questions, learner statements and professional discussion (see below).  Verbal questioning or professional discussion should be captured, either by written notes or audio recording. 


Work product evidence may be generated as a result of work activities undertaken by learners, and could include reports, letters, or records of work carried out.

Witness Statement or Testimony

A Witness Statement or Testimony is confirmation by others that the learner carried out an activity or series of activities relevant to the assessment criteria.  It could be written by the learner and signed by the witness to confirm that it did take place, or the witness may write the statement.   Alternatively, the assessor could speak to the witness and record the discussion.  The statement can then be used as evidence within an assessment.

There may be occasions when an Expert Witness may be required to contribute to the assessment process.  PAA\VQ-SET’s definition of an Expert Witness is ‘an experienced employee who works in partnership with the assessor, by observing the learner carrying out their duties and recording their observations in line with the assessment procedures’.  It should be noted that while the Expert Witness makes a valued contribution to the assessment process, it is the assessor who makes the assessment decision.


Simulations are a source of performance evidence showing how an activity is carried out. Simulations require careful planning to ensure that they reflect as near as possible “real life” conditions and the requirements of the qualification(s).  As a result of this the costs to set up a simulation may be considerable. Simulations are considered suitable in the following task circumstances:

     Any use of simulation should be discussed and agreed with the PAA\VQ-SET External Verifier using guidance from the Assessment Strategy for the qualification being assessed.

Professional Discussion

A Professional Discussion gives the learner the opportunity to tell their assessor what they are doing and why they are doing it in a particular way.  The discussion should be supported by appropriate evidence – an observation report, work product or witness testimony.   Professional Discussions should be planned to give the learner the chance to prepare, and should be recorded. 

Learner Statements

A Learner Statement is an account of an activity that took place, described by the learner.  A detailed statement could demonstrate skill, and also provides evidence of knowledge and understanding. Learner statements should be authenticated by an appropriate person.

Photographs and use of other media

Photographs and use of other media, e.g. video and audio, can provide detail of work activities carried out and questioning.  Photographs are more effective when used with supporting statements.  Video and audio evidence should be effectively referenced to allow specific activities or questioning to be found easily.  It is important to note that if photographs and other media are to be used, the learner and assessor should ensure that permission is gained from all people who may be involved.