Difference between teaching and assessing

Difference between teaching and assessing

This is the question I get asked more and its one I get asked every week. What is the difference between teaching in assessing and which one do I need? The two most common qualifications are the Education and Training Level 3 and the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement. We will attempt to clarify this for you.


Let’s start with teaching, this is where you train your students, you teach them from your experience and knowledge and pass on your wisdom to them in a way that they understand and then are able to apply this knowledge. This is typically carried out in the classroom and can be delivered in the workplace to provide on-the-job training.

Ultimately, your job as a teacher is to get them from A-B. Teachers need to plan their lessons to ensure that learners are able to dissect your content so they can apply it. Each learner is different so you need to adapt your sessions to meet the needs of each learner and the group as a whole. This may include motivating your learners, guiding them, offering advice and providing support. As a teach, you need to have good understanding of the topic so you can this knowledge down.

The most important skill of teaching is communication, this is being able to relate your message to your learner in away that can be understood. Sometimes you need to show learners something, give them examples or break the content down in a way that can be understood by each learner. You will need to be prepared to explain your topics in different ways to meet the needs of different learners. This is where lesson planning is essential.


Assessing is different, assessors don’t pass on their knowledge to learners. Assessors are there to ‘assess’ to make sure the skills learnt are at the required standard to meet the qualification standards. Previously assessments were mainly carried out as exams but nowadays this has changed particularly for apprentices whom learn on-the-job. Therefore assessment is no longer black and white but a judgement from the assessor to determine whether the learner has met formal standards.

Assessing is used throughout study, such as their progress and at the end, to determine their end point whether they can be certificated. For example, those working in hairdressing will be assessed throughout their course as part of their ongoing assessment to determine their progress but will then have an end of assessment to confirm whether they have the expertise and skills to be qualified in hairdressing. The assessor will sign off the assessment if they believe the standards that have been set by the awarding body (the organisation that provides the certificate) have been met. Assessors will create an assessment plan to ensure that each part of the assessment can be carried out.


There is overlap some overlap between both teaching and assessing, which is why they are often confused. When teaching, you will assess your learner’s progress towards skills and knowledge therefore assessments will be part of your learning plan. Experience assessors will often help (teach) if they see where improvements can be made. Both teaching and assessing also require a certain degree of planning and preparation. This ensures standards of an awarding body or organisation are adhered to.

So Which One?

In all honesty, it depends on what you want to teach or assess as each qualification has a different requirement. Typically speaking, where qualifications are usually assessed via an exam, the Education and Training is typically the route to go but the Assessor qualification is most suited to those who offer NVQ’s as they are typically assessed via the judgement of the assessor.

The first thing you need to do is list the qualifications that you plan on teaching and assessing. Once you’ve done this, go to an awarding body which offers these qualifications and check the tutor / assessor requirements. This is important as they will then make it clear whether you need the teaching or assessing qualification. The document you require is the ‘qualification specification’ as this will provide all the details about how to run the qualification. Many different awarding bodies will offer the same qualification and the teaching / assessing requirements will be the same.

If you go down the assessing route, determine if you are assessing in the workplace or assessing vocational qualifications as there are four versions of the qualification. Typically its best to go for the Level 3 Certificate in Vocational Achievement as it covers both areas.

If you are serious about teaching and want longer term prospects, I strongly advise to go for both the Education and Training and the Assessor qualification as it will cover any direction you choose to go down. Contact us at office@hassocksacademy.co.uk as we offer discounts for those wanting to complete both qualifications and we do it in a way that reduces the amount of work you need to do in the long run to achieve both qualifications.

Lastly, the level of qualification you require depends on the level you wish to teach. If you wish to teach Level 4 quals, you need a level 5 teaching diploma. If you are teaching levels 2 and 3, then a level 3 teaching qualification will be sufficient. Please note levels 4 and above for teaching will require you to be working in a teaching capacity of some sort which can include voluntary work. For level 3, you do not need to be teaching. Again, do your research into the subject you wish to teach by checking the qualification specification for the exact requirements. The Assessing qualification is a level 3 and there is no higher award.

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