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A new guidebook for members – Student Partnerships in Assessment (SPiA)

21 Sep 2021 | Tim Hinchcliffe Tim Hinchcliffe, Dr Catherine Bovill and Dr Kelly Matthews introduce the SPiA guidebook which is informed by the global community engaged in this Connect Member Benefit through their contributions to a series of workshops, online forum discussions, opinion surveys, and by previous literature on assessment and student partnership.

The Student Partnerships in Assessment (SPiA) Connect Member Benefit Series was coordinated by Advance HE through the Spring-Summer of 2021, with input from a diverse community of contributors ranging from membership and advocacy organisations, student representatives, various levels of sector leaders, educators and students. This guidebook is informed both by this community’s contributions to a series of workshops, online forum discussions, opinion surveys, and by previous literature on the subjects of assessment and student partnership. By bringing them together, new possibilities and potentials emerge for engaging students and teachers in assessment partnerships.

The community and wider public were provided with the opportunity to scrutinise and critique the emergent principles, which were inspired by community contributions. The final statements are therefore the result of several iterative revisions, based on this generative approach. The resulting principles draw together current thinking on assessment and partnership. If the first section connects partnership and assessment, then the second section connects principles to practice. Change is rarely straightforward and invariably there will be challenges to overcome. Therefore, we have included a selection of enablers that should assist in overcoming challenges. The quotes from both students and representatives, and examples from institutions across the world that can be found throughout this guidebook act as a helpful reminder that it is often worth the perseverance to overcome these challenges.

The third section provides the tools to make change happen. There are practical questions that help outline the scope, nature and ambition of partnership in assessment, questions that challenge all parties on their role, commitments and responsibilities to the assessment partnership, and prompts to consider what is success and how can this be sustained. A participation matrix is included that opens up the possibility of different stakeholders taking on varied roles throughout partnership in assessment that covers a continuum of participation possibilities. The matrix is intended to be adapted to meet your own context.

It can be easier to imagine what might be possible by seeing real examples of practice. Therefore, Section 4 is a collection of student partnerships in assessment examples from around the globe that you can draw inspiration from. Finally, we have included a short list of helpful resources in Section 5. This guidebook is not an exhaustive resource, therefore, it would be remiss not to sign-post the excellent work of others in related areas of work. We hope that this guidebook will encourage and support the proliferation of student partnerships in assessment.

Tim Hinchcliffe, is Advance HE’s Senior Adviser (Learning and Teaching)

Dr Catherine Bovill, is Senior Lecturer in Student Engagement at the University of Edinburgh

Dr Kelly Matthews, is Associate Professor at the University of Queensland

We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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