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Diagnostic assessment

Diagnostic assessment helps to identify specific learning strengths and needs. It determines learning targets and appropriate teaching and learning strategies to achieve them. This is important, because many learners have higher-level skills in some areas than in others.

Diagnostic assessment may happen at the beginning of a learning programme and subsequently when the need arises. It is related to specific skills needed for tasks.

Initial assessment and diagnostic assessment are closely linked: diagnostic assessment gives further, more detailed and specific information. Together they help you and the learner build a clear picture in order to: 

  • Personalise learning; 
  • Develop an individual learning plan; 
  • Begin the process of assessment for learning that will continue throughout the learner’s programme; and 
  • Make links to progression routes and prepare for the next steps.

There are guidance booklets and top tips on diagnostic assessment available on the Skills for Life Improvement Programme website.