Inclusivity Essentials

1. Academic
community

2. Classroom &
accessibility

3. Assessment

4. Feedback

5. Evaluation &
review

3. Assessment

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Assessment is a key way in which we recognise and reward student progress and develop students' skills for employment. Well-designed assessment can provide a levelling of the playing field, as it ensures that all students, regardless of background, understand how and when they will be assessed, experience a variety of assessment types and have formative opportunities to learn how to demonstrate that they meet the learning outcomes of a programme or module. Fair assessment minimises the need to make adjustments for particular groups by considering inclusivity at the outset.

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Self-Reflection

 Use the self-reflection grid and score yourself between 1 and 5 for each point. You can then use the statements below to find out what you can do to further your practice in each area.

I understand the limitations of assessment that prevent it being inclusive.

Issues with assessment can affect both staff and students: Imperial College provide a list of common problems that limit inclusive assessment and offer a range of mitigating strategies. They complement these suggestions with a guide to "implementing assessment choice" and an inclusion checklist.

I actively select assessment types that enable students from varied groups to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes.

Intentional design of inclusive assessment is essential. Plymouth University has a seven-step guide to further support the design and implementation of inclusive assessment. Point 3 is of particular relevance as it discusses how to incorporate choice into assessment.

I clearly articulate the learning outcomes for the course and how the assessment activities measure these.

Transparency in assessment is key to ensuring all students understand what they are being assessed on. Course approval information and module handbooks should make explicit the module and learning outcomes, and the links between those outcomes and the assessment tasks. At the University of Sheffield, the principles of assessment are intended to support an integrated approach to assessment that supports all students.

I explicitly communicate the purpose, task, opportunities for choice and grading criteria for each assessment.

There are a wide range of assessment tasks to suit students with various preferred educational styles and backgrounds. Where more novel assessments are used it is important to ensure that students understand what is expected of them, and how that correlates to the previous experiences of assessment. Further support and guidance such as signposting to 301 Skills and links to Exams Guidance.

I provide formative assessment opportunities, with timely feedback, to increase students' assessment literacy ahead of the final summative assessment (the mark that counts).

Providing students with clear, transparent, consistent information about assessment, plus formative tasks best equips them to prepare for assessment. Information is now available on assessment and feedback as part of the Elevate Essentials.

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Additional resources

The University of Plymouth have produced a 7-Step Guide to Inclusive Curriculum:

  • Underpin your assessment with good assessment design principles
  • Use a variety of assessment methods within your module/programme
  • Incorporate choice to your assessment
  • Design inclusive exams
  • Consider how technology can assist
  • Prepare, engage and support students in the assessment process
  • Monitor review and share practice

Oxford Brookes University offers a one-stop web page dedicated to inclusive assessment. Focusing on tips and points to consider, the site encourages further thought and reflection on the different facets of assessment and feedback.

Leeds Beckett University have developed a detailed and wide-reaching Inclusive Teaching and Assessment Practice: Guidance for Staff. The handbook offers a range of inclusive curriculum development resources focused on assessment, with useful appendices including '10 tips for creating inclusive documents' and an 'Inclusive Practice Checklist'. 

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