This helpful guide explains the definition of skills assessment, gives real-life examples, and explains why we use them in school and work environments.

What is the definition of skills assessment?

The definition of skills assessment is a test designed to evaluate someone’s abilities about a specific skill or set of skills. During skills testing, a person is asked to demonstrate what they know about a particular topic, subject, or issue, and then this is compared to what they should know based on the relevant guidelines.

When are skills assessments used?

There are lots of different scenarios in which a skills assessment can be useful. For example, you might come across a skills assessment:

  • In tests, checks, and exams at school.
  • During a job interview.
  • During a performance review when working a job.
  • When applying for a promotion.

How do teachers use skills assessments in school?

In school, teachers will use skills assessments to ensure that students keep up with what the National Curriculum says children should learn at each level.


In the earlier years of school, the focus is on developing the first stages of phonics, literacy, and numeracy knowledge. Some skills that could be monitored include:

  • The ability to recognize 2D and 3D shapes.
  • The ability to recognize colors.
  • The ability to count to ten or twenty.
  • The ability to measure objects in front of them.
  • The ability to orally segment and sound out the different sounds in words.
  • The ability to orally blend individual sounds when pronouncing whole words.
  • The ability to use oral composition and to be able to write a comment when they hear it.
  • Confidence with phase 1 and phase 2 phonics.
  • Fine motor skills

How are skills assessments used in job interviews?

Before a job interview, the employer will define what they want in the right person for the job. This will include key skills such as communication, problem-solving, leadership, creative thinking, good literacy, and numeracy.

Some jobs will also require specific skills, qualifications, and experience that are vital for doing that job well. For example, you wouldn’t be able to become a doctor without a medical degree, and you wouldn’t be a good dancer if you couldn’t dance! In the same way, you can’t be a headteacher without having teaching and leadership experience first, and it’s a good idea to have experience working in a business before you run your own.

Interviewers will ask candidates questions based on these criteria, and this gives the candidate a chance to demonstrate their relevant skills and abilities in their answers. However, this can be difficult under pressure, so preparing for an interview is important.

Looking at the job description ahead of time is a good place to start because it will clearly outline all the skills the employer is looking for. Using this information, you can match your skills to the requirements ahead of time so that you’re ready to answer questions during the interview.

After all the candidates have been interviewed, the person who best matches the required skills may be offered the job. Or there may be another round, including a more practical skills test where recruiters want to see the candidate demonstrate the skills they’ve spoken about.

Why is a skills assessment useful in a work environment?

A skills assessment provides employers with valuable information that helps them see if a job candidate is a good fit for their company. But employers can also assess the skills of their workers as they progress within the company to monitor their job performance in the long term. Assessment will also play a part in getting promotions or pay raises, so it’s an important part of working life.

That’s why children need to get familiar with these processes. At Twinkl, we’ve got many educational resources perfect for teaching children how to identify and talk about their soft skills, technical skills, or any of their many individual qualities or abilities.

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