External Keynote Lecture – Professor Kay Sambell

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Wednesday 9 June, 14.30-16.00

Reimagining assessment, reshaping futures: how might our assessment and feedback designs support learning for the longer term?

Professor Kay Sambell


This session suggests that we now have a vital opportunity to reimagine assessment as a result of the rapid alterations many academics had to make during the short-term switch to emergency remote teaching due to the pandemic, and in positive response to an associated and acutely-felt awareness of the ways in which assessment can impact on important issues such as inclusion, learning and teaching for the ‘next generation’ student, and student partnership, belonging and wellbeing.

For decades, assessment scholars have argued for a radical re-visioning of assessment in higher education (Boud et al., 2010) to integrate assessment and learning processes more seamlessly so that assessment and feedback practices become more learning-oriented (Sambell et al., 2013; Brown and Race, 2020) and develop students’ abilities to self-regulate (Nicol, 2020), not just within the academy but in their longer-term lives post-graduation.

The session will draw attention to the value of future-focused assessment and feedback processes, and the design issues that underpin them. Building on our Covid-19 assessment collection (Sambell and Brown, 2020), the session will focus on some practical strategies for creating future-oriented assessment and feedback practices, and offer some illustrative examples from practice.


Boud, D. and Associates (2010) Assessment 2020: Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education. Sydney: Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

Brown, S. and Race, P. ‘Using effective assessment and feedback to promote learning’. InHunt, L. and Chalmers, D. (2020) (in press). University teaching in focus: A learning-centred approach. London: Routledge.

Nicol, D. (2020) The power of internal feedback: exploiting natural comparison processes. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, pp.1-23.

Sambell, K. and Brown, S. (2020) Covid-19 Assessment Collection. Available at https://sally-brown.net/kay-sambell-and-sally-brown-covid-19-assessment-collection/

Sambell, K., McDowell, L. and Montgomery, C. (2013) Assessment for Learning in Higher Education. London: Routledge.


Professor Kay Sambell is widely known internationally for her contributions to the Assessment for Learning (AfL) movement in Higher Education, which seeks to emphasize the ways in which assessment processes can be designed to support and develop students’ learning, as well as measure it. For over two decades she has spearheaded a range of pragmatic innovations, research projects and initiatives focused on improving university student learning via assessment. Kay also helped to establish and support a series of international conferences aimed at rethinking assessment practice. She is currently President of the vibrant Assessment in Higher Education (AHE) conference series, (https://ahenetwork.org/) which leads the development of assessment for learning. She is a UK National Teaching Fellow (2002) and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is currently an independent consultant and Visiting Professor of Assessment for Learning at the University of Sunderland and the University of Cumbria. 

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