Assessing portfolios

What do I do when I am given a candidate?

  • ensure the candidate has a sufficient overview of the portfolio process, the expectations on them - roles and responsibilities
  • determine what the candidate is seeking to complete within the period of the assessment plan - candidates can have multiple assessment plans and should identify specific training needs
  • together examine the evidence requirements

How do I make assessment decisions?

  • a candidate does not need to prove competence beyond all reasonable doubt
  • look at the evidence presented and make a judgement as to whether or not this evidence shows how the candidate meets the assessment criteria for a particular element
  • when candidate has completed a task he or she must have demonstrated competence in each of the assessment criteria at least once
  • a piece of evidence does not necessarily have to meet all the criteria
  • evidence that is confidential does not need to be in the portfolio but it must be clearly referenced so that it can be found

What is competence?

  • the demonstrable ability to carry out a particular task or skill to the required minimum standards
  • thus the candidate is competent once he or she can demonstrate that they can perform a task or skill to the minimum standard


  • feedback on performance should be given at regular intervals (suggested feedback following the completion of each task)
  • this feedback should be given on the candidate assessment feedback form assess 5
  • feedback should start with positive points about performance or evidence , then give negative points but always finish with another positive point
  • feedback should be just and reflect assessment criteria, not the assessor's personal opinion about how best to do the job

When is assessment completed?

  • an assessment is complete when sufficient valid, reliable, authentic and current evidence has been provided to meet all of the assessment criteria

For greater detail read the full assessing portfolios guidance in the qualifications resource centre

Summary of the process of portfolio assessment  (PDF 63KB)for assessors and verifiers.