Assessment-led reform: Creating a sustainable culture for WIL

Karen Young, Stuart Palmer, Clare Binek, Mark Tolson, Malcolm Campbell


This paper describes a process of assessment reform designed to enhance Work Integrated Learning (WIL) approaches for two science courses at an Australian university. The project used a mixed-method approach involving online surveys, interviews, focus groups and workshops to gather student, industry and course team knowledge and understanding of WIL approaches to curricula. The investigation centred on the perceived value of collaborating with industry to facilitate enhancements in authentic assessment and on the barriers to, and challenges in, achieving successful outcomes. The action-research project, WIL-on-Campus (WoC), found that assessments oriented toward the inclusion of authentic tasks and processes, that contribute to the employability learning and job-readiness of students, is deemed important to students, industry and academics. However, reforms to assessment practice and process are required. For greatest impact, this study found that assessment reform processes require two critical interdependent factors: the socialisation of the shared institutional value of embedded WIL approaches to assessment, and the provision of top-down support to enable academic course teams to implement the ‘imposed’ changes. Further to this, while academics viewed the changes in approach to assessment design as challenging, they also noted that a shift is timely and believed that a course-wide WIL approach is possible and advantageous.


WIL, scaffolded, assessment, industry, employability, change, curriculum-led reform.

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