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Belonging and assessment and feedback

Why is this important for belonging?

As our students come from a range of backgrounds, it is important to recognise that not all students will begin their studies with the same level of confidence, knowledge, level of academic literacy and skills. This means that, while some students will feel well-prepared for their studies, others may not. How we approach designing assessment, preparing students for assessment and feeding back to students on their work can influence the development of their disciplinary identity and their feelings of belonging during their studies.

What can we do?

  • Ensure that assessment design is clearly linked to learning outcomes
  • Ensure that assessment is inclusive – so that all students can engage with it.
  • Make sure that assessment tasks are transparent in terms of clarity of task and instruction
  • Make sure that assessment tasks are expressed in language that is clear for all students and cannot be misinterpreted
  • Surface and make explicit expectations around assessment – what do students need to do to be successful?
  • Avoid making assumptions around shared understanding and perceived norms linked to assessment
  • If possible/appropriate, provide models/examples for students
  • Design activities that allow students to better understand the marking criteria
  • During timetabled teaching, design tasks and activities that support students in developing skills such as critical thinking that can be transferred to assessment pieces
  • Consider whether students can be involved in assessment design or can have some choice in assessment tasks/formats
  • Provide opportunities for formative assessment and formative feedback
  • Explore 'Assessment and feedback practice' for more support