Offer flexible assessment and delivery

With careful planning, assessment practices can be designed and developed to be inclusive. In so doing, levels of student satisfaction are likely to increase and grades awarded for assessed work are likely to improve.

Photo of students working on laptops

“I am in charge of my learning”

Key questions for educators to ask:

  • Can choices be offered to students in the mode/format they are permitted to submit assessment, so as to reduce the need for special consideration and reasonable adjustment?
  • Will any student be excluded by the subject content, the delivery and/or assessment methodology or the schedule?
  • Do teaching methods support students to engage in different ways, for example, the use of a virtual learning environment to support delivery of material?
  • How does the assessment and/or delivery allow for articulation of diverse perspectives?
  • In what ways does the assessment require students to have an understanding of and interaction with diversity?

The role and practice of both delivery and assessment in higher education has shifted in recent times.

Some of the reasons for this include a strong impetus for students to develop the graduate attributes necessary to assist them in their professional capacity, alongside the emergence of new technology, and the need to find more effective delivery and assessment practices to accommodate larger and more diverse student cohorts as part of a widening participation commitment in the tertiary sector.

The development of more inclusive assessment practices is becoming a priority for many universities, both to offer students the best chance of success in their studies and to reduce the cost and time of special consideration and reasonable adjustment processes. When choices and options are offered for the completion of assessment tasks, students are given the opportunity to satisfy learning outcomes by submitting work in a form that most suits their learning needs/styles while still meeting academic standards.

Informing students in plain clear language of the assessment schedule and requirements well in advance is another way educators can assist students to succeed. Consideration should also be given to ensure that class content and assessment reflects and allows for a range of perspectives.

Offering students flexibility in their learning and assessment can be vital to their chances of success. Many students have significant financial and/or time constraints, which impact on their ability to attend face-to-face classes. An important way educators can provide students with the flexibility they need to be able to fully participate in their studies is by embedding technology into course delivery. This can offer students the choice of when, where, and how they study, and help them to manage their time more efficiently.