All entries for Monday 16 October 2023
October 16, 2023
Past reflections, future outlook: Update from the Warwick Learning Circle on diverse and inclusive assessment practices
by Kerry Dobbins, Isabel Fischer, Sam Grierson and Leda Mirbahai
Warwick’s International Higher Education Academy (WIHEA) has many features - one of them is that members only remain active members for three years before becoming alumni. The imminent handover of the co-leadership of the open learning circle on diverse and inclusive assessment practices made us, outgoing and new co-leaders, reflect on past initiatives and future directions.
Let’s start with an exciting future - what is new?
As we continue to move forwards with this work, we will become the ‘Inclusive Assessment Learning Circle’. This name change recognises our intention to embed the work on diverse assessments into a broader outlook which sees assessment in HE as a vehicle to promote equity and social justice. The wellbeing of students and staff will feature strongly in our ongoing discussions.
In line with our focus, the learning circle will be inclusive of:
- Assessment strategies and methods that are diverse, authentic, applied and decolonised - this broad understanding and acknowledgement of relevant issues in teaching, learning and the designing of assessments reflects the current landscape in HE and indicates the interest of our members. We hope to support the university reimagining the assessment design narrative, taking a view from programme level through to single assessment and placing assessment at the heart of curriculum design.
- Our members - we want members to be and feel actively engaged and involved in the learning circle.
- Students’ experiences – the work of the learning circle will be firmly focused on working with students so that collectively we can work to understand and support students’ needs and their personal and professional ambitions through assessment.
As for ‘past reflections’: What are the existing features of the learning circle worth keeping? There are in particular four features that worked really well in the past:
- Since its inception membership has grown steadily for three reasons: The membership of this particular LC is open to WIHEA as well as non-WIHEA members from across Warwick and other institutions, also internationally. The open membership has enriched the discussions and enabled establishment of networks nationally and internationally. Secondly, creating sub-groups not just raised interest, it also offered leadership opportunities to more members. The most popular sub-group was AI in education which in turn was split into six further strands / interest groups: Artificial Intelligence in Education (warwick.ac.uk). Lastly, the topic of the learning circles (assessment in its broadest term) has significant implications not only for educators but also for our learners.
- Many of our invited keynote speakers at the start of the bi-monthly meetings and at our mini-conference on assessments, captured the essence of their talks in blogs. Most of the blogs were published within WJETT (see the end of this blog for some examples, others were in other outlets, such as SEDA and SCiLAB. Even if not captured in blogs, did the keynote speeches result in interesting discussions and network opportunities.
- Extensive student corporations, with students supported by two WIHEA grants. One of the student participants even drafted an academic article based on her learning about assessments during her membership.
- Hosting workshops enabled dissemination of our findings and new resources, including the outputs of our funded projects. It also provided a platform to encourage co-learning and sharing amongst participants and facilitators (including student facilitators). Overall we hosted three workshops with the details of the workshops available from our webpage.
Finally, this is blog 15 in our diverse assessment series, some of the more recent blogs can be found here (with further links to previous blogs shown within some of the blogs below):
- Using AI for Formative Feedback: https://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/wjett/entry/using_ai_for/
- Assessments: Capturing Lived Experience and Shaping the Future
- Blog 7: Democratising the feedback process (Linda Enow): https://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/wjett/entry/democratising_the_feedback/