Ideally, the diversification of assessment should help a wider range of students demonstrate their learning. Specific assessment methods favour students with particular skills and preferences (traditional exam conditions, for example, work well for students who have good recall under pressure). Using a range of assessment methods across a programme thus allows a greater number of students to show their abilities. Diversification of assessment should also help LSE to meet the requirements of the Equality Act (2010) and the UK Quality Code by increasing the accessibility and inclusivity of learning and teaching practices.
There is, however, the risk that a new assessment method might disadvantage students, either in a broad sense (favouring students with strong speaking skills, for instance) or by creating an obstacle for students with specific learning difficulties.
Individual students may require an adjustment to their assessment. However, it’s good practice to build inclusivity in when designing an assessment
When choosing a new method, it can therefore be useful to ask:
- What does this method require, in terms of skills, capabilities, activities? This includes both the formally assessed outcomes and the tacit skills required.
- Will students already have used these skills and abilities in their programme or in the course itself? Ideally, a formative assessment gives students a chance to be evaluated on these skills before the summative assessment.
- Are there ways to encourage useful preparatory behaviours in students during the course?
- Are any students likely to be severely disadvantaged by the method? Will any of the requirements of the assessment create barriers for students with specific learning difficulties? (Some conditions are listed here.)
Each assessment method in the toolkit has some specific information on ways to increase inclusivity. The Disability and Wellbeing Service and the Eden Centre are happy to discuss assessment methods with academics.