While this best practice guidance is primarily aimed at part time, commuter or mature students, it is equally applicable to any student. It highlights areas that students find challenging around assessment and provides practical guidance and strategies to support them. The guidance looks at three key areas identified by students as critical to a positive assessment experience: Assessment Design & Feedback, Provision of Continuous Preparation & Scaffolded Instruction and Peer Inclusion & Connection.


Part time, commuter and mature students have a higher university dropout rate and lower levels of satisfaction relating to the study experience compared to other students. The goal of our project was to develop and embed positive wellbeing practices into the teaching environment. This guidance is a co-created document and is the result of a series of listening workshops where students identified both supportive, and challenging elements, of undertaking assessments. It is hoped that the guidance will provide awareness and support to any practitioner teaching part time, commuter or mature students. Where possible the guidance provides direct links to methodologies within the wellbeing pedagogies library, and wider resources, in recognition of the time pressures that practitioners usually have. The assessment guidance is a result of work carried out under the Office for Students funded project; Positive Digital Practices. The project, which is led by the Open University, is partnered by Bradford University, JISC, Student Minds and UHMAN. The assessment guidance, plus other resources developed under the project, can be found in the main project website.

Measurable Benefits

  • Students will feel more included because the guidance has been developed by them and is focussed on their needs.
  • A better assessment experience should result.
  • The study experience will be enhanced by improved peer connections.
  • Tutor awareness of the range of types of students leads to a more inclusive experience.

How it Works

  1. Read the guidance
  2. Consider which elements are most relevant to your cohort/s
  3. Implement the appropriate guidance

Practical Example

A pdf of the full best practice guidance can be found here.

Best Practice Assessment Guidance for Part-time, Commuter, Distance and Mature students