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Authentic assessments in the Lifelong Learning Centre: enabling students to use assessment to produce resources they can use in their professional lives

Special Series - Inclusive Assessment

In our work with mature, part time and Foundation Year students at the Lifelong Learning Centre, we aim to make our assessments as authentic as possible.  


  • recognises the valuable life, community and professional knowledges/experiences our students bringing into their academic study 
  • enables students to make connections between their university learning and their current and future professional work 
  • provides opportunity for the teaching of transferable professional skills

What did you do and why did you do it?

On the Professional Studies and discovery module Creative Interventions in the City, students identify a problem/opportunity to do with the city of Leeds, for which they then design a creative intervention. They undertake a literature review to develop their rationale for, and then are trained how to produce a National Lottery funding proposal focused on their creative idea for their final assignment. Students have drawn on their lived experience of the city to develop a wide range of different proposals, including those around community building, food poverty, studentification, and accessibility in public spaces. 

 On the part time Learning and Teaching degree module Creating Learning Resources, students – who all work in educational environments – identify a need in their working practice, and informed by the wider literature, develop a learning resource. They develop this in workshop sessions, getting peer and tutor support; they then pilot this to gain evaluation feedback from colleagues in their own professional environments. An example of this is a student who developed a resource which involved using social stories to reduce inappropriate sexualised behaviour in boys with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

What was the impact of your practice and how have you evaluated it?

Students on both modules have used the assessments to develop ideas which have had a positive impact on their professional lives and their local and working communities; we have evaluated the effectiveness of the assessment strategy through recognising how the students have used the assessment output in areas beyond their degree work. A Creative Interventions student has talked to her local MP about her idea to develop community relations in her local neighbourhood; having the chance to research and develop a funding proposal empowered her to do this. Creating Learning Resources students now use the resources they have developed in their working practice. For example, the resource mentioned above about social stories and ASD is now being used in the student’s workplace, as a key part of their working practice.   

How could others benefit from this example?

All students could benefit from this authentic assessment approach; developing it involves thinking about students as embedded within their own local communities and ways of knowing, and empowering them to become creative knowledge-producers. 


Catherine Bates,, Lifelong Learning Centre

Do you have an example of your practice to share?

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