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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 2D - Workshop

Assessment design and employability: Applying insights from pedagogical theory to the analysis of assignments, with examples from the BA English and the BA Creative and Cultural Industries

Ms Mary Ann Kernan - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London
Deborah Dickinson - School of Arts and Social Sciences, City, University of London
Dr Patricia Moran - School of Arts and Social Sciences, City, University of London

To define theory-informed criteria to assess the potential impact of assessment design could benefit our future success in working across City to improve our pedagogical practice as well as enhancing our programmes’ transferable learning. The workshop will also actively encourage the participants to share are assess their own practices from across City’s teaching provision.

We propose a theoretical framework for assessment to enhance students’ employability, invite the participants to apply it to two case studies, then discuss the outcomes with reference to both their own practice and possible future research.

Framed by Barnett’s (2013) challenge to reimagine the university, we draw on current HE pedagogical research which focuses on employability (eg Yorke and Knight, 2006), inquiry-based learning (eg Healey, 2005), collaborative learning (eg Goodyear and Ellis, 2007), and competencies (eg University of Glasgow, 2009). We will also discuss the roles in HE pedagogy of both imagination and creative performances (James and Brookfield, 2014), and of reflection (Bolton, 2014).

We then present two case studies of active assessments, one from the BA Creative and Cultural Industries and the other from the BA English. The participants will be invited to assess their potential to contribute to the students’ learning both in terms of subject-specific and transferable knowledge and skills.

Before the final discussion, the participants will be invited, in pairs or threes, to discuss and critique the theory presented earlier in the session, and how it might inform their own future curriculum development.

The workshop ends by encouraging the participants to share other examples, and to identify how the theoretical framework might be enriched by combination with other theoretical frameworks and future research.


Barnett, R. (2013) Imagining the University. London and NY: Routledge.

Bolton, G. (2014) Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development (4th edition). London: SAGE.

Goodyear, P. and Ellis, R.A. (2007) The development of epistemic fluency: Learning to think for living, in A. Brew and J. Sachs (eds) Transforming a university: The scholarship of teaching and learning in practice. Sydney: Sydney University Press, pp.57–68.

James, A. and Brookfield, S.D. (2014) Engaging Imagination: Helping students become creative and reflective thinkers. San Francisco, CA: Wiley.

Healey, M. (2005) Linking research and teaching: Exploring disciplinary spaces and the role of inquiry-based learning, in R. Barnett (ed.) Reshaping the university: New relationships between research, scholarship and teaching. Maidenhead, UK: McGraw Hill/Open University Press, pp. ed. 67–78.

University of Glasgow (2009) Mapping the University of Glasgow’s Graduate Attributes to Employer Competencies [Online]. Available: http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_230785_en.pdf [7 March 2017].

Yorke, M. and Knight, P.T. (2006) Embedding employability into the curriculum. York: Higher Education Academy.