RAPPORT, Volume 2, Issue 1 RAPPORT Issue 1 version4FINALSO - Page 28

RAPPORT WWW.RECORDINGACHIEVEMENT.AC.UK Issue 1 (2017) The International Journal for Recording Achievement, Planning and Portfolios Making a difference to employability through assessment – Challenges and Opportunities Authors: Andy Hollyhead and Jon Curwin, Birmingham City University, based upon original work with Ruth Lawton Within the context of Higher Education, assessment is accepted as a major driver of student behaviour (Kirkwood, 2009; Rowntree, 1989), informing how they are going to be judged and in what ways they can be successful. In this article we explore the notion that effectively- designed assessment, particularly at course level, can do more than this - it can support student employability. Well-intentioned, piecemeal efforts like a single employability-focussed assignment in one isolated module or an optional CV writing workshop might make a difference to some individuals, but are likely to make little impact on the student cohort as a whole. However, to engage students with their course and future possibilities a more cohesive and thoughtful strategy across a course is required which includes content, activities and assessment explicitly addressing the challenges of employability. If employability is important then achieving outcomes that will be valued by graduate employers, among others, must be part of assessment formulation: “If we want our students to demonstrate employability when they graduate, our assignments need to be designed to be practice-based, whether in terms of the practice of being a researcher or applications to professional contexts such as being an artist, an accountant, a health practitioner or a quality surveyor. Rather than assessing a learner’s ability to write about good practice, an effective assessment strategy would seek to measure how the student can put into practice the learning achieved” (Brown, 2004, p. 83). The authors argue that assessment is too important to be piecemeal. Assessment can do more than produce the right mark and show the level of completion across a number of modules. The challenge is to design assessment that will meet the practical constraints of course delivery and support student personal and professional development. The challenge of employability Employability is not the same as employment but having that sought-after job is indicative of those qualities. More formally employability can be defined in terms of: “A set of attributes, skills and knowledge that all labour market participants should possess to ensure they have the capability of being effective in the workplace – to the benefit of themselves, their employers and the wider economy” (National Union of Students and Confederation of British Industry, 2009, p. 12). Individuals need to find ways to stand out from the crowd, for instance a significant and positive online presence or fluency in another language will make a difference. Curwin and Lawton (2015) argue that the driver should be the a ٕЁѥѥٔمхѡɽ՝)ɕѥѥՑ́Ѽɔѡ)ɕ䁑ٕЁͭ胊qmݡt)ѡ՝Ё́ѡɕͭ͡ݥѡЁݡ)Ёݥ՝Ѽє%)չՕ䁝́хаѡѡ)́Ѽ٥͕Ѽ٥ѡ͔ѡɕ͡)ͭ́ЁѡݥͼѼ٥͕Ѽ)٥ѡ͔ɥѕ̰Ʌѕɥѥ́)ͥ́ѡЁѡQхЁ)ЁݥѼ͡ݍ͔ѡ͔Յѥ)ͭ́ѡЁѡɕлt ݥ)1ѽ԰Ȥ%ѡЁɕЁѡ) Ʌѥ)) ɥѥ͠)%ɥ))Uٕͥѥ́U, Ʌѥ ɥѥ͠)%䰀䰁ँͥѥٔѥՑ͕́)ѡѽȁչՍ͙հ光)̰ͭᕵ䃊qɽ)ɕ́ѼхЁɥє)Ѽ܁́ɥٔѼѡ͔t(