Student collaboration in developing an on-line self assessment tool, to enhance development for student and newly qualified professionals


  • Julie Laxton University of Leeds
  • Paul Dagg University of Huddersfield
  • Janet Hargreaves University of Huddersfield
  • Duane Laverick University of Huddersfield
  • Carrie Mitchell University of Huddersfield



A “Competence in Practice” (CiPA) self assessment tool was developed initially as a research instrument as part of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning; Assessment and Learning in Practice Settings. The tool asks a series of questions against which participants self-rate their preparedness for practice. A working group then created software from this that is used as a formative exercise to rate confidence and perceived competence in practice. This freely available package ( ) responds with feedback to individual users on their self evaluation, facilitating reflection and guided supervision. The development involved an innovative, collaborative partnership with academics and students, who undertook the work as a paid project as well as actively participating in workshops and conferences. Working collaboratively was a powerful experience for all involved. This case study presents the development of the tool, focusing on the collaborative aspects of the work. Working collaboratively with students in this manner enabled many positive outcomes and lessons for the future. 

Author Biographies

Julie Laxton, University of Leeds

Julie Laxton MA, BSc, RD is Teaching Fellow, Inter Professional Education. She teaches non-clinical subjects to medical students and other professions. Her main research and teaching interests are interprofessional education.

Paul Dagg, University of Huddersfield

Paul Dagg and advises staff with the development of technology-based learning resources. He managed the technical assistants who worked on the CIPA tool as well as contributing to its development.  Paul is interested in useability, interface design and social media, and is currently completing a Master’s in Technology Enhanced Learning.

Janet Hargreaves, University of Huddersfield

Dr. Janet Hargreaves MA, BA, RGN is Associate Dean Learning & Teaching in the School of Human and Health Sciences, University of  Huddersfield. She teaches ethics, research and reflection. Her research interests are professional education and nursing history.

Duane Laverick, University of Huddersfield

Duane Laverick BSc ICT (Hons) Year 4, placement year studentLearning Technology Assistant He develops web applications for the School of Human and Health Sciences and assists in supporting students and academics with our VLE.

Carrie Mitchell, University of Huddersfield

Carrie Mitchell BSc ICT (Hons) Year 4, Learning Technology Assistant and placement year student. She develops databases and other IT applications for the School of Human and Health Sciences and assists in supporting students and academics with our VLE


Baxter, P. and Norman, G. (2011). Self-assessment or self deception? A lack of association between nursing students’ self-assessment and performance. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 67 (11), 2406-2413.

Conway-Gòmez, K. and Palacios, F.A. (2011). Discussing the Geography of Sustainable Development through an International Online Collaboration with Students in Chile and the USA. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 35(2), 265-279.

Flying Start Programme, NHS Scotland. Availble at: (Accessed 13 August 2012).

Harpin, S. and Gilmore-Bykovoskyi, A.L. (2012). Bringing students to the table: the value of student involvement in Midwest nursing research society. Western Journal of Nursing Research. 34 (3), 287-8.

Higher Education Academy (2012). What works? Student retention and success programme, Available at: (Accessed 7 January 2013).

Hmelo-Silver, C.E. (2004). Problem-based learning; What and How do students learn? Educational Psychology Review, 16(2), 235-266.

Holt, J.; Coates, C.; Cotterill, D., Eastburn, S.; Laxton, J.; Mistry, H.; and Young, C. (2010) Identifying common competences in health and social care: An example of multi-institutional and inter-professional working. Nurse Education Today. 30(3), 264-270.

Kramer, K. (2005). Medical student involvement in research in the pre-clinical years. Hawaii Medical Journal. 64 (7), 190-1.

Kruger, J. and Mueller, R.A. (2002). Unskilled, Unaware, or Both? The Better-Than-Average Heuristic and Statistical Regression Predict Errors in estimates of Own Performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 82 (2), 180–188.

Millard, L. and Hargreaves, J. (2013) Creatively employing funding to support innovation Innovations in Education and Teaching International (in press).

Osman, G; Duffy, T.M.; Chang, J.Y.; and Lee, J. (2011). Learning through collaboration: student perspectives. Asia Pacific Education Review, 12(4), 547–558.

Student Learning and Teaching network (no date). Available at: (Accessed 13 August 2012).

Vessey, J.R. and de Marco, R.F. (2008). The undergraduate research fellows program: a unique model to promote engagement in research. Journal of professional nursing. 24(6), 358-63.