Engaging employers as partners in work-based learning assessment: proposal for a quality enhancement framework

Lindsey McEwen, Helen E. Higson, Christine Williams, Kristine Mason O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper seeks to advance research and practice related to the role of employers in all stages of the assessment process of work-based learning (WBL) within a tripartite relationship of higher education institution (HEI), student and employer. It proposes a research-informed quality enhancement framework to develop good practice in engaging employers as partners in assessment. The Enhancement Framework comprises three dimensions, each of which includes elements and questions generated by the experiences of WBL students, HEI staff and employers. The three dimensions of the Enhancement Framework are:
1. ‘premises of assessment’ encompassing issues of learning, inclusion, standards and value;
2. ‘practice’, encompassing stages of assessment made up of course design, assessment task, responsibilities, support, grading and feedback;
3. ‘communication of assessment’ with the emphasis on role clarity, language and pathways.
With its prompt questions, the Enhancement Framework may be used as a capacity-building tool for promoting, sustaining, benchmarking and evaluating productive dialogue and critical reflection about assessment between WBL partners. The paper concludes by emphasising the need for professional development as well as policy and research development, so that assessment in WBL can more closely correspond to the potentially transformative nature of the learning experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-89
Number of pages28
JournalLearning and Teaching in Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • employers
  • support
  • work-based learning
  • placements


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