Creativity for inclusion: empowering the margins
Assessments are often the most important part of a module for students, dominating their attention throughout. As practitioners, we need to create inclusive assessment practices if we want to dismantle the social and cultural barriers that prevent students from achieving. With this in mind, I developed a creative independent project that allows students with a diversity of non-traditional historical skills to showcase their talents. For the past eight years, students in my final year nineteenth-century British urban history module, ‘Victorian Cities’, have taken charge of their assessments to either produce a faux primary source or independent project. This follows the North American assessment model of the ‘unessay’. Little did I know that I would be marking assessments in the form of board games, radio shows, sewing projects, creative writing projects, and interactive exhibition boards when I first embarked on this assessment model. These creative outputs are not normally the staple form of student assessment in history / humanities teaching. In this paper I will introduce you to the creative independent project. I will show how this assessment model disrupts the standard norms of historical pedagogy to give power to the student, which in turn creates an authentic assessment experience. After all, the student chooses what form their output takes and utilizes skills usually developed beyond the classroom. Finally, I will discuss the ways in which this assessment model empowers marginalised students and staff.
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