Assessment strategies and employability in the environmental and engineering sectors

Debbie Bartlett, Deborah Sims


This case study builds on material presented at the HEA Advance STEM conference held in Birmingham, England, in January 2019 which raised the issue of assessment strategies, suggesting that, for example, examinations do little to prepare students for the workplace. The initial research has been developed to provide an analysis of the current assessments in ecology/environmental management and civil engineering and the relevance to the tasks new entrants carry out in their roles as young professionals. We have developed our initial research, carried out in spring/early summer 2019, to explore this in more depth, using a survey to investigate early career professionals’ perceptions of the usefulness of the various types of assessment they experienced at university and to the requirements of their jobs. At the same time, we asked the employers of graduate ecologists/environmental managers and civil engineers how well prepared they feel graduate entrants are for their job roles and whether they are finding it difficult to recruit applicants with the appropriate competency, with respect to both transferable and technical skills. 

We argue that greater links and communication between employers and education providers would benefit the employability outcomes for graduates and ease the transition between university and the workplace and we make recommendations for competency-based assessment strategies.

This research was supported by the University of Greenwich Learning and Teaching Fund.


authentic assessment; feedback; competency; employability

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