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IATL Assessment Methods

What are the IATL student-led, non- standard assessments?

IATL invites students to become co-creators of knowledge and bring their own experience to help shape their own assessment.

Assessments methods vary across the modules, but include organising events, creating Blogs, e-Portfolios, Learning Journals, Podcasts, Presentations, Videos and Student Devised Assessments (SDAs) 


Listen to Dr Heather Meyer’s podcast here for 'Student Innovation at Warwick' where she discusses how non–standard learning and assessment methods are created, delivered and experienced on IATL modules, and how this can be of value to students.  


Demystifying Student -Devised Assessments - (SDA)

If you want to find out more about Student Devised Assessments, this video should answer your questions.


'This video is my thought process when thinking about the Assessment for the module Reinventing Education. I love the variety that doing a student-led assessment can give you, and I'm excited to work on my project, knowing that I can use skills and hobbies I already have to convey my ideas!'

Rhys Boxall-Roye, Department: Classics, IATL modules studied Public Engagement and Reinventing Education.

Examples of IATL student-led, non- standard assessments

Below a selection of different types of student-led assessments that are utilised in different IATL modules

1- Public events and conferences

This year, Warwick Institute of Engagement launched its first ever student module through IATL. Public Engagement: Connecting Communities to Research, is an interdisciplinary module created to give students a theoretical and practical introduction to public engagement. The first cohort of students delivered their final showcase of assessment pieces in the form of public events in January 2021. Watch back last year’s events on YouTube”

Dorottya Szikszay took the module in 2020-21. You can watch her video assignment at 

See sample submissions and Presentations from students on the “Censorship and Society 20-21” module 

IATL modules that currently use Public events, Conferences and Presentations for assessment are: Public Engagement, Entrepreneurship: A Critical Perspective and Community Engagement

2- Student Devised Assessment (SDA)

The SDA offers students the chance to display their critical engagement with the themes and theories of the module and to take a considered approach as to how they might practically apply what they have learned in a medium of their choosing. 

It gives space and the opportunity to test ideas and to be creative! 

The SDA’s form is down to the student. They consider what issues and theories they want to address and then pick whatever form they feel best expresses them. The SDA can take any form they wish (a story, workshop, presentation, blog, comic, painting, video, essay, dance, website, poem, song, learning resource, collage, diary...anything!) and it displays their personal experiences of and thoughts about the module’s topics, questions, and stimuli in the best way possible. They have to clearly demonstrate and critically engage with theory and give an explanation of their choice of medium. To help with this, they write an accompanying explanation or give an accompanying presentation to their piece together with a detailed bibliography. 

IATL modules that currently use SDA for assessment are:

Understanding Wellbeing, Forms of Identity, Applied Imagination, Global Connections, Genetics: Science and Society and Change: Critical Understanding, Practices and Action.

Examples of SDA

Virtual exhibition of 'Genetics: Science and Society' Module Exhibition (2018) 

3- Reflective Journals

IATL modules that use Reflective Journals:
Keeping a reflective learning journal gives us an opportunity to explore our own relationships with the learning within a module. It invites us to engage more deeply with the practices and ideas of a module, to slow down our thinking, to make connections and to consider what is meaningful to us as people, and to consider how our wider knowledge, understanding and expertise might relate to what we’re learning. It is grounded in ideas and practices of critical contemplative pedagogy. These reflective practices can help us understand the movement of our learning differently, to play with ideas and perspectives, and to take our learning into ourselves, rather that hold it at a distance or keep it feeling abstract. The process can be about deepening our questions and understandings rather than arriving at or asserting answers or arguments. Journals don’t need to be restricted to words; maps, drawings, voice notes, videos, imagined dialogues, memes, questions can all help us reflect. They can be beautiful or ugly or both. You’ll be encouraged to keep your individual journals throughout the module, and then to edit and hone before submission choosing what you want to share or not and the story you want to tell through your journal.

Reflective Journals provide an opportunity to take a step back from lectures, reading and discussions and think about what it all means. A bit like a blog, students record what, for them, are the most significant ideas, thoughts and feelings from each week's course content and discussions. But in addition, students are invited to reflect on why they found those things significant. Journals help students to remember and consolidate their learning while also giving them the space to critically analyse and evaluate their thoughts, feelings and responses as they evolve.

4- Portfolios

Introduction to Design Thinking Theory and Practice students create an online professional portfolio with magazine-style studies and a reflection on their learning. "Magazine style" means written for and interesting to a general non-specialist audience. Students are invited to express their creativity, unique interests, and backgrounds and use text, photos, diagrams, video and audio. There is no requirement to be good at drawing and we explore creativity and tools to help you express your ideas in one of the initial sessions. You will receive plenty of support from module leaders and encouragement from other students to feed your creativity over 10 weeks! As part of their portfolios, students are encourages to use and apply Design Thinking ideas and 'language' they develop on the module as they frame their design challenges, ideate, prototype or test their designs. You can see an example of this by Robert O'Toole here.

Other IATL modules that use portfolios are Global Connections

Hear from our students 

Navigating the Student Devised Assessment - by Nana Adwoa Obeng, Philosophy student

IATL modules taken: Feminist Dissent and Reinventing Education

'Being accustomed to traditional methods of assessment means that IATL’s student designed assessments can seem daunting and sometimes even discourage you from picking the modules. I certainly felt that way when I was considering taking my first IATL module in second year. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to still take up the module not despite the “weird” assessment but because of it. The SDA ended up being one of the assessments I enjoyed doing the most and one of my best grades for the year.

The SDA is really special because it gives you the chance to explore your interests, in relation to the module’s content, in a way that is important and unique to you. For instance, when I started to read more about feminism, I always wished there were more blogs dedicated to African feminism and African feminist thinkers. The blog I created for my SDA wasn’t just for a grade, it was really a project that I believed in and had a passion to complete.'

image of the blog the student created for their SDA

‘During Censorship and Society we had an assessed presentation. I actually really enjoyed this opportunity because it’s relevant to future careers and was a good way to practice these skills in front of a smaller, encouraging audience’

Holly Warner - Applied Linguistics

IATL modules taken: Genetics: Science and Society and Censorship and Society

‘The prospect of a Student Devised Assessment (SDA) was at first very daunting, being completely different to any assessment I have done in the past. This is the first time I’ve been given complete freedom over what topic I wished to pursue but also the format in which I wished this to be assessed on. However, as the process of constructing my SDA progressed I found myself enjoying the assessment more and more, as I became immersed in a topic I found really interesting and I was allowed to present this in a far more creative and interactive way than an essay would allow.’

From the SDA accompanying piece of Molly Inglis - Sociology

IATL modules taken: Genetics: Science and Society

'In my home department of Life Sciences, there is very little scope for creativity. We are taught the facts and demonstrate them through experiments, but rarely learn and critically reflect about the effects of science. Although it’s easy to think of science as something that occurs exclusively in laboratories, science affects real people every day. For this reason, I decided to write a short story; I wanted to combine the science of genetics with an emotive, personal account of a woman affected by it.’

From the SDA accompanying piece of a School of Life Science student

IATL modules taken: Genetics: Science and Society