We need to be sure that students learn what they need to, in order to be effective and safe in whichever field they will be working. Assessment is the instrument we use to assure ourselves, the students, the institution, the workforce and society more generally - that they are.

Nothing matters more to students than assessment and its outcomes. The type, timing and amount of assessment is the primary consideration for students when approaching their studies; and they can be quite strategic about how they will tackle it.

As frustrating as this may seem, we need to acknowledge that this is often an intelligent response to the situation students find themselves in - a heavy assessment load combined with external work and life responsibilities. Student patterns of participation at University have changed, and are still changing. Many students have other equally important family and social commitments and many more work and study concurrently. University forms a part of their life and doesn't always come first. Hence, assessment, like all learning activities, must be clearly relevant and manageable to engage and support these students.

It is no longer acceptable to include assessment as an add-on activity; only considered after the design of your curriculum. Assessment must be central to your thinking and your curriculum design. Students can survive (with difficulty) poor teaching, but they can't escape the effects of poor assessment (Boud, 1998).

Matters of assessment matter and must be central to your thinking and curriculum design.