skip to content
Photo of empty desks in an exam hall

Research question

What are staff members' perceptions of diversifying assessments in their disciplines at Cambridge? Lessons learnt from the pandemic and scope for the future.


Project team

  • Cecily Bateman, postgraduate student studying Classics
  • Emma Brown, undergraduate student reading Veterinary Medicine
  • Syd De-Ath, undergraduate student reading Human, Social & Political Sciences


Project report



This project explores staff perspectives on the opportunities for and barriers to diversifying assessment at the University of Cambridge. It expands on a previous report on students' perceptions of diversified assessment conducted by the Cambridge Students' Union in 2021. Surveying and interviewing staff members from multiple departments and roles revealed that the majority had an appetite for provision of well-designed, diversified assessments (both formative and summative). Main reasons included better showcasing of student ability and improvement of student mental health. However, there was no consensus: the burden of designing new assessments and perhaps teaching approaches, the plethora of ways students learn versus the simplicity of a traditional exam, and proving academic standards were just some of the hurdles raised. Training for more staff on what constitutes diversified assessment and on design and implementation approaches to ensure fairness, rigour and pertinence (with regard to teaching and intended learning outcomes) would likely be beneficial. Giving staff the time away from other work to develop new assessments could be one strategy to facilitate this.