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At each stage of assessment, how our students experience feelings of belonging is critical to their involvement with their learning processes and their identification as successful learners. This QAA Collaborative Enhancement Project set out to explore how institutional regulations and practice regarding assessment can impact students’ sense of belonging.

This collaboration aimed to:

  • identify areas of enhancement in assessment policies and practices to promote students’ sense of belonging and tackle issues of social justice
  • link this relational work with the attainment gap/awarding differentials agenda in the creative arts
  • develop collaborative, dialogic, effective resources for staff development across the HE sector.

Read the full project report

Belonging through assessment: Pipelines of compassion - project report

Publication date: 08 Feb 2023


From their research findings, the project team developed a digi-book, jampacked with case studies and dynamic tools to help you challenge assumptions and normative practices around three key research areas:

  • Pass / fail assessment  
  • Trauma-informed policy  
  • Compassionate feedback. 

Throughout the project life cycle, a number of outputs were developed including:


  • A symposium for the QAA membership community to discuss compassionate assessment and share ideas -  view materials on the Membership Resources site 
  • podcast which unpicks the complexities of feedback and assessment and implications for student belonging 
  • podcast exploring feedback practice and how providers can take a more compassionate approach.
  • A blog post which documented the organic development of materials, provided a space for exchange of ideas and acted as a live progress report 
  • podcast which unpicks the student experience of pass/fail assessment 
  • A Position Paper which introduces each of the three research strands and the team’s plans for future developments.

 You can also hear from the project team in their introductory video – recorded back in 2021.



Watch the introductory video

Project lead:

University of the Arts London

Project partners:

Glasgow School of Art and Leeds Arts University

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.