Initial assessments can be used at the beginning of courses, workshops and on site in order to find out about learners. This includes any aspects that could otherwise go unnoticed, potentially causing problems for both student and teacher. Sometimes training needs analysis (TNA) are put in place to identify both current skills and knowledge.

Initial assessments can help a teacher in the following areas:

  • Ascertain any special learning requirements
  • Understand goals and reasons for doing the programme
  • Disclose any information that needs to be shared
  • Allow for individual requirements to be planned for and met

Diagnostic Assessments

Diagnostic assessments can be used to identify learners current knowledge, strengths and any areas for development. They can be a useful tool in identifying if a learner does not meet the criteria for the course or if they need to move to a higher level.

Below are examples of the types of information that can be collected through diagnostic based forms:

  • Previous experience in the subject areas
  • Gaps in knowledge, skills and training
  • Functional skills requirements eg extra support with English
  • Make sure appropriate support can be accessed

The below example highlights how the above information can be collected:

Initial Assessment


Martyn had enrolled on the principles and practices of assessment course to assist with his new job as an assessor within a college. On his application form Martyn had stated his reasons for completing the qualification but also included that he needed to observe learners within the classroom and issue / mark tests.

Martyn’s college looked at the form and decided that he would be better suited to the Level 3 Vocational Assessors course which would give him real time practice in carrying out assessments on his new learners.