Assessing students’ work

Using the right approach

There are a number of systems for assessing students’ work. Two of these systems are criterion-referenced and norm-referenced assessment. At the University of Glasgow, we use criterion-referenced assessment. This system means that every student has the opportunity to demonstrate their own achievement against a set of criteria and are not judged against their peers. Using this means of assessing work is fair because it rewards each student for their own effort.

Key points

  • The University of Glasgow uses criterion-referenced assessment.
  • Criterion-referenced assessment allows each student to demonstrate their own achievement.
  • Criterion-referenced assessment does not compare one student’s work with another.
  • Criterion-referenced assessment is the system used at the University of Glasgow.
  • Norm-referenced assessment is not used at the University of Glasgow.


Bloxham, S, Boyd, P & Orr, S (2011) Mark my words: the role of assessment criteria in UK higher education grading practices. Studies in Higher Education, 36(6), pp: 655-670