Type of Powerful Assessment - Co-creation with students


Arts & Social Sciences

  • Student-run symposia on key course outcomes. Evaluated against a set of criteria jointly determined in advance by students and the lecturer. Criterion areas include: participant and lecturer feedback on the quality of design, relevance, engagement, evidence of positive impact along with a self-review on the quality of team-work using a set of good practice principles discussed in class at the commencement of the project.


Community & social work

  • Student teams undertake a series of focus groups to identify instances of discrimination in the surrounding community. They are to write and produce a video script then load it up onto YouTube for use as a trigger for community feedback and class learning. The product is assessed on the quality of each component using class and teacher feedback along with clear evidence of effective performance of different team roles. This assessment task measures diagnosis, the ability to synthesise, the ability to work with diversity, creativity and invention, lateral thinking, and fosters the learning of generic skills – in this case use of video and YouTube as a form of public engagement and dissemination.



  • Capstone in Education: final year students design, run and evaluate the effectiveness of a ‘conference’ in which they bring together all that they have learnt and how they are going to manage the transition into teaching with keynote speakers that include successful early career teachers and other leaders in education.



  • A curriculum review simulation involves students in a co-creation project in chemical engineering and applied chemistry. For this summative assessment a project has been developed that encourages students to analyze the existing curriculum and then recommend and provide a rationale for changes. The project requires students to imagine that they represent the Chemical Engineering Department as they present a pitch to a group of interested donors. They must present a plan that earmarks the donor funds for a particular course-based or program level improvement. Students are directed to: “review the key learning outcomes of the 2nd year curriculum to consider how your courses work together to develop your skills and knowledge, and to identify gaps or areas for improvement in this curriculum.” In their argument students can draw on a range of sources including research and popular papers, while also integrating their firsthand experience as students.

    The assessment criteria include clear and persuasive messages through effective argumentation; analyzing audience and purpose to select the most effective mode/genre of communication, and level of detail required; finding and properly integrating relevant information to support their purpose and argument; summarizing and synthesizing information from external sources; effectively organizing information and prioritizing it in each mode of communication (written, visual, oral) to convey a core message; applying effective strategies to the design of text, visuals and oral presentations; developing self-confidence in your process of communication (University of Toronto).


  • Flipped Assessment - In Flipping Assessment: making assessment a learning experience Susan Spangler from the State University of New York notes that “What’s been left out of the conversation about flipped classrooms, is why and how we might also need to flip our assessment practices”. She reports how involving students in grading conferences, sitting with them and explaining what is being done as grading is undertaken and inviting them to identify evidence against key course outcomes leads them to be clearer on what is expected, more confident in revising their work and better able to self-assess in the future.


Higher Education

  • Production of a ‘lonely planet’ guide by experienced third year students on ‘how things work around here’ for incoming first years from the same background – assessed as part of a community service subject. The assessment includes an analysis of the feedback from the students it is intended to help.


Sustainable social, cultural, economic and environmental development

  • Student-run conferences and campaigns on sustainability issues.


  •  Five themes:
  • Nature – Nature on Campus, Sustainability Fair, community litter-pick
  • Health & food – Local food fair, cooking demo, food bank, Ouz
  • Travel - pedi-cab rides, sus-trans, bike security
  • Re-use - repair cafe
  • Energy – home energy advice, cob oven demo, energy competition, pedicab challenge

Students have to plan, take into account their audience, deliver the week’s activities, handle unexpected implementation challenges, demonstrate clearly positive outcomes.

 Why ‘powerful’?

  • Real life
  • A bit ‘scary’
  • Reflective
  • Requires reflectiveness and responsiveness, ability to ‘read and match’
  • Adaptive

Students can cite what they did and achieved when applying for jobs.


  •  Co-creation projects by students and staff of education for sustainable development programs at University of Uppsala’s Centre for Sustainable Development & Environment and Development Studies. See the CEMUS (Centre for Environment and Development Studies) which is a student-initiated and primarily student-run university centre at Uppsala: http://www.web.cemus.se/. More info about the centre, how it got set up and how it works is available at: http://www.web.cemus.se/about/. Contact: Isak Stoddard Acting Program Director of CEMUS: isak.stoddard@csduppsala.uu.se .


Transdisciplinary studies

  • Capstone – student-student collaboration projects in applied statistics across disciplines
    In a capstone course for students in applied statistics, the statistics students collaborate with research students from other disciplines, bringing their quantitative expertise to the projects. The final product is a written report to the collaborator, intended to be of professional quality. Students also work through a sequence of learning activities, all assessed. These activities scaffold the students' skills needed to produce their report. Skills in statistical methodology, computation, and professional report writing are assessed along with the students' understanding of themselves as professionals and their abilities in the non-technical aspects of statistical consultation such as professional and ethical behaviour and written and oral communication, both formal and informal (University of Toronto).