In-course assessments are an essential part of any coursework because they represent both a physical output of the skills and knowledge acquired at university, but also have the role of supporting student transitions into prospective careers. Therefore, assessments could be used as a conduit to encourage student awareness of the skills needed for the workplace and verify their attainment of these skills, particularly at foundation levels within a degree. Within a second-year Microbiology and Immunology course, students struggled to engage with standalone timetabled careers-related sessions, yet they showed enthusiasm when employability was embedded into assessments. A staff–student partnership project explored these issues, with the overall aim of understanding how to effectively embed employability skills into assessment and feedback and support students positioning themselves for the future. Through a focus group, this project investigated the reasons for low student engagement with timetabled employability sessions and used student views to develop digital initiatives and 21st-century competencies that could be applied more widely within assessment and feedback practice. These initiatives were then implemented as pre-session self-directed activities, with the objective of helping students to link course feedback with employment skills and future career planning, followed by a newly developed in-class reflective feedback session that allowed students time to consider what skills they have developed and make links with future careers. Project evaluation was conducted using a quantitative survey of the students involved.

This study was supported by the:
  • University of Glasgow (Award NA)
    • Principle Award Recipient: NicolaVeitch
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The Microbiology Society waived the open access fees for this article.

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