A university strategy for assessing work like experiences

Dr Kathy Charles and Rachel Challen, Nottingham Trent University

Kathy Charles, Executive Dean of Learning and Teaching and Rachel Challen, Associate Professor from Nottingham Trent University on ‘A university strategy for assessing work like experience for all students.’ This recording is from our 2023 MiniBash community event which was hosted in Birmingham, England. Videos are for educational personnel only and require a live educational email to watch. You can read a small snippet of the video transcript below.


Hello everybody, it’s really nice to be here. This is my first MiniBash and first ever, any kind of PebbleBash and when it was described to me as mini, I didn’t expect it to actually look like this. I thought it might be about 50 people or something like that, so it’s lovely to see such a lot of people.

Okay, so we’re here today, myself and Rachel, to talk about our university strategy for assessing work-like experiences for all of our students at Nottingham Trent University.

So, I’m just going to talk for about ten minutes or so. Ten or twelve minutes before I hand over to Rachel, because Rachel’s the person that’s got some really nice examples of how we’ve actually done this at NTU. Whereas I’ll be talking a bit more about the bigger mechanics that went behind the scenes of how we approached it.

I want to talk a little bit about the drivers for the assessed work like experience project, both for the work experience part and the assessment part. What we’ve done in this project at an institutional level, and also a little bit about my own experience of offering a work-like experience to some of our psychology students.

So, I think the drivers we had will be really familiar to all of you because they’re affecting all of us and as we’ve just been hearing, they’re actually affecting everybody across the world, not just here in the UK.

One of the things for us was the graduate outcome survey. So previously, the DLE survey, we used to do very well in that. When we moved to the graduate outcome survey, NTU took a little bit of a dip in that survey in terms of seeing how well our graduates were going on to future employment.

So we realised very quickly that we had a bit of an outcomes challenge developing that we needed to work on.

Also, many of you will have had the joy of the TEF in the autumn last year and going into January, perhaps right up until January 24.

With data dashboards, you can look at your students experience student outcomes, and we could see from our dashboard that we had a little bit of a challenge with some of our student groups and some of our subject areas in progression for that as well.

As well as those big external drivers, we are also doing some research inside the university ourselves, we have a longitudinal project running at the moment called student 2025. We started following a group of a hundred students in September 2021.

So, they are now just coming towards the end of their second year with us. And we knew from this survey where we’re interviewing them a few times every year, that there was a bit of a change in how students were starting to see university.

So instead of seeing university as their main activity they were doing, and they might do some work on the side, for quite a number of our students we were seeing a bit of a pattern where their work was their main activity and university was a thing they were trying to do on the side…






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