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Arti Kumer

Page history last edited by Norman Jackson 11 years, 4 months ago

Developing students’ professional behaviours using Assessment Centre approaches

Arti Kumar, University of Bedfordshire

Presentation powerpoint slides

This presentation draws on the experience of innovating a project on Assessment Centres (ACs) within the curriculum at the University of Bedfordshire – which is aligned with the idea of a life-wide curriculum, and future careers of lifelong learning. The project was initially conceived for academic staff to understand how and why many employers use ACs, and to consider how such activities could be replicated within curricula, to facilitate entry to graduate employment. The project has grown to encompass a broader view of developing all students in a more intentional and holistic way, providing exercises that can challenge, motivate and enable them to develop skills, knowledge, attributes and professional identities that are useful in the 21st Century.  Mock ACs for finalists can potentially provide opportunities for finalists to demonstrate attributes that may be assessed and possibly verified for inclusion in the new proposed Higher Education Achievement Report (Burgess, 2007).


ACs are increasingly widely used, usually as the last stage in an employer’s competency-based recruitment process, after candidates have been pre-screened through applications and interviews. The AC is “an integrated process of simulations designed to generate behaviour similar to that required for success in a target job or job level. It enables candidates’ performance to be measured objectively against specific criteria” (source:  Association of Graduate Recruiters).


Any HE institution that wishes to develop students’ professionalism can benefit from introducing the type of AC approaches that we are currently developing and subjecting to action research. The lessons that have been learned from the methods employers use in ACs to observe and assess graduate applicants can transfer to the ways in which educators teach and assess students. They open up different ways of conceptualizing learning, feedback, assessment and development – concepts which can prompt interactive and innovative methods that effectively develop professional competencies.


We will present the views of both staff and students: early empirical evidence shows that these interventions can engage students actively in an enriched experience of formative, holistic development through self/peer/ tutor/employer assessment, and improve their learning outcomes – provided they are effectively introduced and facilitated. 

The presentation will show how:

·         the ‘behavioural competencies’ that employers seek are congruent with the attributes tutors seek in an effective learner

·         practical AC-related exercises, examples and resources may be adapted in any curriculum, but there are issues and challenges in implementing these;

·         action research can improve and spread such interventions in different contexts.  

Learning to be professional story


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