Belonging through assessment: Pipelines of compassion QAA Collaborative Enhancement Project 2021

Hill, Vikki ORCID logoORCID:, Broadhead, Samantha ORCID logoORCID:, Bunting, Liz, da Costa, Laura, Currant, Neil, Greated, Marianne ORCID logoORCID:, Hughes, Peter, Mantho, Robert, Salines, Emily ORCID logoORCID: and Stevens, Thea (2023) Belonging through assessment: Pipelines of compassion QAA Collaborative Enhancement Project 2021. University of the Arts London, London. ISBN 978-1-906908-82-9


In February 2021, colleagues from University of the Arts London (UAL), Leeds Arts University (LAU) and Glasgow School of Art (GSA) secured funding for the QAA Collaborative Enhancement Project – Belonging through assessment: Pipelines of compassion. The project began against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and the team identified a shift in assessment practices across the three participating arts institutions. This offered an opportunity to further our work, in collaboration, to address social justice, belonging and inclusion through compassion. This project aims to: 1. Identify areas of enhancement in assessment policies and practices to promote student sense of belonging and tackle issues of social justice. 2. Link this relational work with attainment gap/awarding differentials agendas in the creative arts. 3. Develop collaborative, dialogic, polyvocal and affective resources for staff development across the HE sector. Three research strands emerged from themes relevant to our own institutional priorities, mutually informing the project and institutional practice and policy. These are pass/fail grading, trauma-informed policy and compassionate feedback. Initial cross-institutional research and evaluation into pass/fail assessment was taking place at UAL and at LAU in the wake of measures introduced during the pandemic. The trauma-informed policy strand developed from academic enhancement work on Fostering Belonging and Compassionate Pedagogy at UAL. The compassionate feedback research strand linked to enhancement work in progress at GSA around assessment policies and practice and with UAL work on formative feedback practices and assessment design. The following sections introduce and then delve into each of the research strands in turn, providing both theory and practical advice. The final section of the resource outlines indicators for compassionate assessment across both higher education policy and practice.

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