Belonging through assessment: Pipelines of compassion
QAA Collaborative Enhancement project, 2021-23
Celebration and book launch, 27 January 2023
Project Lead: Vikki Hill
Project Team: Prof Sam Broadhead, Liz Bunting, Dr Neil Currant, Dr Laura da Costa, Dr Marianne Greated, Peter Hughes, Robert Mantho, Dr Emily Salines,
Dr Thea Stevens
Guest Speaker: Mia Liyanage
Late January saw the launch of the digital book that is the culmination of the 2 year “Belonging through assessment: Pipelines of compassion” project.
At each stage of assessment, how our students experience feelings of belonging is critical to their involvement with their learning processes and their identification as successful learners. This QAA Collaborative Enhancement project set out to explore how institutional regulations and practice regarding assessment can impact students’ sense of belonging.
The team spans colleagues from University of the Arts London (UAL), Leeds Arts University (LAU) and Glasgow School of Art (GSA).
Three research strands emerged from themes relevant to institutional priorities, mutually informing the project and institutional practice and policy. These were pass/fail grading, trauma-informed policy and compassionate feedback.
At the celebration event, guest speaker Mia Liyanage (EDI Manager (Students), UAL), presented her talk “Band-Aid on a bullet wound! The necessity of transformation for the student experience,” which contextualised the importance of this research for decolonising the curriculum, culture and pedagogy in UK universities.
- Access the slides from the event, to review summarised key findings from each of the 3 strands of research, alongside policy prompts and recommendations.
- Access the digital book (free, download optional)
- Explore the resources created by the project through the QAA website, including:
- prompts for compassionate feedback and
- a podcast episode (36m) aiming to raise awareness of the educational and creative potential of the use of language in feedback.
- Read more on the project blog, including around students’ experiences of pass/fail assessment (podcast and video).
The team would like to extend their thanks to those across all 3 institutions and the QAA who have supported the project.
About Belonging through Assessment: Pipelines of Compassion
This project aimed to:
- Identify areas of enhancement in assessment policies and practices to promote student sense of belonging and tackle issues of social justice.
- Link this relational work with attainment gap/awarding differentials agendas in the creative arts.
- Develop collaborative, dialogic, polyvocal and affective resources for staff development across the HE sector.
Work began against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and over time the team identified a shift in assessment practices across the 3 participating arts higher education providers. This offered an opportunity to further institutional research in collaboration, to address social justice, belonging and inclusion through compassion.
Three research strands emerged from themes relevant to institutional priorities, mutually informing the project and institutional practice and policy. These strands are:
- Pass/fail grading
- led by Dr Neil Currant (UAL) and Peter Hughes (LAU),
- Trauma-informed policy
- led by Professor Sam Broadhead (LAU), Liz Bunting (UAL), Laura da Costa (LAU) and Vikki Hill (UAL),
- Compassionate feedback
- led by Dr Marianne Greated (GSA), Dr Thea Stevens (GSA), Robert Mantho (GSA) and Dr Emily Salines (QMU).