Assessment of work-based learning: mapping UK Higher Education approaches: a recent SMMSN Summer Teaching Development Project
Work-based placements offered during University degrees to enhance student experiences and boost graduate employability are not uncommon across UK Higher Education institutions (Pokorny and Warren, 2021). In fact, at the University of Aberdeen, we offer many such courses and are constantly expanding our provision across both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Assessment of work-based learning tends to favour traditional scholarly formats (e.g. essays and presentations) for pragmatic reasons, however, these may not reflect real-world work delivery and feedback processes (Carlos, 2021). While I have recently developed and introduced a novel professional development plan, skills audit and appraisal assessment for the postgraduate work-based placements in applied health sciences that I run (PU5548 and PU5923), this is still University-led. Evidence suggests that, to develop a well-prepared future work force, host employers or their staff should be actively involved in designing and grading authentic assessments that will genuinely improve students’ experiences and enhance employability, as well as benefiting their own organisations through direct participation in these activities (Woolf and Yorke, 2010). However, barriers to integrating employer-led assessments within University courses persist (Brodie and Irving, 2007). The aim of this project was to map UK Higher Education approaches to assessment of work-based learning to: inform our own University of Aberdeen practices and their development; and to contribute to the field of pedagogical research in work-based learning. Heather will present initial insights and plans for analysis of the data collected.