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This QAA Collaborative Enhancement Project, informed by a collaborative analysis of the impact of alternative assessment methodologies and associated regulations introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, led to the development of a set of Inclusive Assessment Design Attributes and complementary materials for use across the higher education sector.


In addition to measuring impact, the project identified characteristics of assessment design and regulation which contribute to improved outcomes for higher education students.


This project examined shared learning from a consortium of University Alliance institutions around key areas of assessment policy including the relationship between inclusive assessment design and student wellbeing, the impact of no detriment/safety net approaches, and measures to assure academic integrity.


Through collaborative fieldwork, focus groups and data analysis of assessment outcomes, the project team:


Project blogs

Hear more from project lead Sam Elkington, Professor of Learning and Teaching at Teesside University in the these two blog posts:

  • analysed assessment outcomes for specific cohorts of students during the pandemic-affected years 2019-20 and 2020-21, including the impact of no detriment/safety net approaches and alternative assessment methodologies; cross-discipline attainment gaps were analysed with a critical lens examining inclusivity
  • developed a shared understanding of cross-institution inclusive assessment approaches and policy arrangements
  • devised a series of evidence-informed inclusive attributes of assessment and recommendations for implementation in policy and practice for sustained impact beyond the pandemic.

Project Outputs

In August 2022, the project partners published a suite of outputs for use across the sector including:

  • set of Inclusive Assessment Design Attributes
  • report outlining inclusive attributes of assessment and recommendations for implementation in policy and practice, with particular emphasis on digital delivery
  • reflective toolkit summarising best practice from across participating institutions
  • series of case studies illustrating the types of approaches that were deployed, alongside their impact on student learning and performance
  • established Assessment Research Consortium comprising contributing HEIs to enable sustained collaboration and research in inclusive assessment in HE.

These outputs have been developed as practical resources with the aim of supporting HE leaders, academics, and students in higher education to review, plan for, and evaluate enhancement-led inclusive assessment policies, initiatives, and interventions.



Project workshop


In October 2022, the project team delivered a workshop to support members to embed inclusive assessment design in your own practice and to make best use of the inclusive assessment attributes and associated reflective toolkit. The workshop presentation is available on our Membership Resources site.


Presentation: Embedding inclusive assessment workshop

Publication date: 05 May 2023

Project lead: 

Teesside University

Project partners: 

University of the West of England, Birmingham City University, Oxford Brookes University, Greenwich University, Kingston University, University of Brighton and University of Hertfordshire

Other Collaborative Enhancement Projects

QAA supports a number of projects every year, covering a range of topics and interest areas. Each is led by a QAA Member, working in collaboration with other members institutions. You can find more information on all projects, and access resources and outputs, on our website.