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Copy of 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

Warwick Institute of Engagement launched its first ever student module through IATL. Public Engagement is an interdisciplinary module created to give students a theoretical and practical introduction to public engagement.

IATL modules that currently use Public events, Conferences and Presentations for assessment are: Public Engagement, Entrepreneurship: A Critical Perspective Creating Digital Futures Rethinking Health Science and Censorship and Society

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, Rethinking Health Science, Global Connections, Genetics: Science and Society Local/Global Shakespearience,and Change: Critical Understanding, Practices and Action.

Examples of SDA

Watch this space for our new online SDA exhibition.

3- Reflective Journals

IATL modules that use Reflective Journals:

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

Global Connections - Reflective e-Portfolio

Part of a transdisciplinary approach (as the module title suggests), is through the development of a series of
‘transdisciplinary habits of mind’ – universal or ‘global’ skills that “integrate different solutions, viewpoints and
perspectives” (McGregor, 2017: 11) 1
. Active reflection on the development of these skills is an important feature of
transdisciplinary learning, and a way to document (and celebrate) your learning journey.
The ePortfolio is an opportunity for you to reflect on, and illustrate how you have been developing and progressing
through (and contributing to) this module’s interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary content; collaborating with your peers
from different (disciplinary) backgrounds; shaping your own learning trajectory; and cultivating skills that extend far
beyond the world of academia.

Other IATL modules that use portfolios are The Slow Movement

Curious to see what assessment on our modules looks like? See our Assessment ExhibitionLink opens in a new window

Hear from our students 

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

IATL modules taken: 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