Integrating Inclusive Assessment with Inclusive Teaching: Learning from the SOAS experience

Lead presenter: Dominik Jackson-Cole

At SOAS, we take a social justice approach to attainment, and recognise that attainment gaps are produced by a complex intersection of factors, not least: the approach of the teacher; the nature of the material; and the way in which assessment incorporates a vision of student starting and end points.  Working on any one point in this complexity may or may not bring intended benefits – and the evidence is beginning to suggest that rather than there being a magic bullet, successful approaches need to use a whole institution framework.

We found ourselves developing several standalone tools to tackle different elements of the learning and teaching experience: a decolonisation toolkit; unconcious bias training; and inclusive assessment labs.  However, the challenge wasn’t just the intellectual one (understand and explaining to others how they fit together) but also the practical one (how to deliver these pieces in an environment when everyone felt under pressure with greater workloads).  The latter piece is an important one when we consider that we need to not only include but also inspire and energise academic colleagues.

We have attempted to bring our three tools together to provide a holistic approach to inclusive teaching.  This challenges the delivery team (which encompasses a range of academic, management and professional service staff) to integrate a wide range of approaches in a way that is both understandable but also actionable by colleagues.

As a response to the recognition that attainment gap issues are complex and institution wide (Singh, McDuff, Expert Group on Disability and Inclusion), the SOAS approach may be of interest to other institutions. In this workshop, we will describe the various tools that we use, explain our process and talk about outcomes so far.  Participants will have the opportunity to see an overview of the tools and experience a cutdown version of the intervention.