The result of an assessment, whether by assignment, essay, test, examination, or some other means, which is designed to ascertain a learner's current level of knowledge, ability, or achievement. The outcome might be expressed in terms of a simple pass or fail; or it might be graded using categories such as pass, credit, distinction. Alternatively, the outcome might be expressed numerically, in the form of a percentage mark, for example, or in a score out of ten. In the case of assessment for bachelor's degrees, the outcome is expressed as a class or classification, according to the student's performance, using first, second, and third class, in descending order of merit, to denote the student's achievement. Other ways of presenting assessment outcomes is by using an alphabetical system, as in the case of Advanced Levels, for example; or by combining alphabetical grading with plus and minus markers, so that, for example, an A− denotes a slightly better level of achievement than a B+.
In whatever form the assessment outcome is presented—numerical, alphabetical, graded, or classified—the outcome as expressed should be securely grounded in an agreed and transparent set of assessment criteria so that both assessor and student or candidate are clear about what the assessment outcome means in terms of the student's level of achievement. In order for assessment outcomes to have reliability, a grade B awarded by one assessor for a particular assignment must mean the same in terms of student achievement as a B awarded by a different assessor to a different student for the same assignment.