Standard 5: assessment strategies

The following is the standard for assessment strategies required by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) for approval of Higher Level Institutions (HEIs), associated health care providers and educational programmes leading to registration by NMBI.


Assessment of academic achievement, progression and completion must be fair, effective and transparent. Students should be assessed using published criteria, regulations and procedures that are applied consistently and are subject to internal and external verification.


The assessment of learning is a continuous process and demonstrates a balanced and integrated distribution throughout the educational programme that is verified through the external examination process.


  1. The curriculum design includes the assessment strategy in relation to the measurement of practice-based and theoretical learning outcomes.
  2. The programme assessments strategy is strategically planned and fit for purpose.
  3. Assessments serve a formative function for gauging student progress and a summative purpose to ensure that progression to the next part / year of the programme is dependent on student attainment of required educational standards in theory and practice.
  4. From an early stage, students are made aware of the assessment strategy used for their programme of study by the provision of an assessment map detailing the range of examinations, assignments, practice-based and other assessments of proficiency that will be encountered and the criteria used to measure their academic and practice performance.
  5.  Assessment techniques are established as reliable and valid measurements of learning outcomes.
  6. Assessments are based on a variety of strategies that are aligned with the subject area, practice placements learning environment, and stage of the educational programme and are consistent with module learning outcomes.
  7. Assessment measures the integration and application of theory to the nursing care of people using health services that is learned throughout the programme. It requires the student to demonstrate competence within practice through the achievement of learning outcomes in both theory and practice.
  8. Practice-based assessment of learning outcomes and competence is based on an explicit model or framework for competence assessment.
  9. The grading criteria indicating the standard for a pass award is declared and made explicit for theoretical and clinical practice assessments.
  10. Module assessments have clear marking criteria that are available to students, internal and external examiners and academic staff.
  11. Written exemplars of internal moderation being employed in the grading of module assessments are provided.
  12. Policies governing student absence, non-submission of assessment work, non-attendance at examinations, mitigating circumstances and repeat arrangements are explicit.
  13. Assessments are subject to administrative checks to verify accuracy of procedures used.
  14. All assessment results are considered and approved by a properly constituted Examination Board in accordance with the HEI’s policies and Assessment and Examination Regulations.
  15. Information is provided to students in a timely and accessible manner as to the processes for obtaining results, viewing scripts, securing module lecturer and advisor of studies feedback to students, and requesting a recheck of marks.
  16. Assessment regulations relating to compensation, supplemental examinations, appeal mechanisms and conditions for continuance on the programme are explicit and made known to students and key stakeholders.
  17. Programme criteria specify pass/fail standards, compensation, and maximum number of supplemental attempts.
  18. The assessment strategy does not allow compensation between theoretical and clinical practice assessments.
  19. There is evidence that External Examiners are appointed by the Higher Education Institution in accordance with its procedures and with criteria specified by the NMBI for the experience and expertise of examiners of professional nursing programmes.
  20. External examiners’ reports attest to the External Examiner’s role in reviewing the content, structure, organisation and assessment of the nursing programme in terms of equity, fairness and transparency.
  21. There is evidence of the quality assurance role of the external examiner in ensuring that decision-making by examination boards of the Higher Education Institution is rigorous, fair and consistent, and in programme review.
  22. The HEI and its AHCP(s) provide an annual report on the educational programmes by including the external examiner’s report or a summary to the NMBI.
  23. The assessment strategy ensures that graduates meet the intended programme learning outcomes and competencies for proficient practice as a registered nurse in a specified division of the Register of Nurses and Midwives.

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