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Inclusive Education Framework: Assessment and Feedback

Assessment and Feedback Assessment and Feedback

Assessment is a major driver of student learning but is also a source of considerable anxiety for many students. Poorly designed assessment strategies can act as a barrier to learning, and potentially reinforce educational inequalities. Inclusive assessment goes beyond the provision of reasonable adjustments for individual students with disabilities, towards a model where flexibility of assessment is available for all (Waterfield and West, 2006).

Inclusive pedagogy also requires effective use of feedback and feedforward. All students benefit from having a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their work and be able to identify how to improve their performance in future assignments. Inclusive assessment and feedback processes are also mindful of student anxieties and provide constructive support for students in demonstrating their learning (Winstone and Nash, 2016).

Inclusive assessment will:

Have coherent programme level design. All students benefit from seeing connections between assessments in different modules.
Earlier years of the programme will prepare students effectively for their final assessments, ideally with no novel assessment types introduced in the final year.


Be mindful of student workload and anxieties around assessment. Inclusive programme teams will coordinate assessments so that students are not over-assessed or face unmanageable workloads.


Design out the need for individual reasonable adjustments wherever possible. There can often be flexibility in how students demonstrate programme competencies and standards defined by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) or Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs). That flexibility can be used to design out individual reasonable adjustments. For example, students meeting a competency of effective communication could have a choice of format (e.g podcast, infographic, blog), enabling students to identify
the most appropriate medium for their individual capabilities and needs.


Give students authentic opportunities to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and self-awareness. When assessments are embedded in ‘real world’ scenarios, students are more motivated by seeing the connections between their learning and the wider
context and their future career.


Give students a diversity of assessment modes. An inclusive assessment portfolio will include a balanced variety of formats relevant
to the discipline, so all students have opportunities to play to their strengths.


Be marked using clear, fair and transparent criteria that align to module competencies. Inclusive marking criteria will not
disproportionately penalise students for mistakes in written English or referencing, except where this is required by e.g., professional, statutory and regulatory bodies. Weighted rubrics that clearly specify requirements may be more inclusive than holistic
marking criteria.