Case study: Co-assessment of oral presentations


Students give a presentation reflecting on their employability skills developed while on a service-learning course.


Dr Susan Deeley (Senior Lecturer)

Email address:


  • College of Social Sciences
  • Level: Honours
  • Subject: Social and Public Policy

Key features

  • A small group size (< 25).
  • Focus on specific GAs: Reflective learner, Effective communicator and Confident.
  • A mix of in-class and out-of-class activities in form of a seminar (6 hours in total).
  • Paper materials and technological resources used, requiring basic technological competency.
  • The activity is completely integrated into curriculum, which has a major impact on syllabus redesign.
  • Considerable impact on staff’s workload as co-assessment requires meeting each student individually to discuss their presentation, give feedback and agree a mark.


The service-learning course requires students to engage in voluntary work in the community and undertake the associated coursework where they give two different oral presentations (formative and summative). The summative co-assessed presentation is of their critical reflections on the employability skills and attributes they have developed while being on this course. The assessment concerns the content and delivery of their presentation, and negotiation and communication skills through the process of co-assessment.


The College of Social Sciences Employability Officer provides advice to students about employability and giving presentations during a class before the formative assessment is scheduled. Written and verbal guidance about the presentations is given to students from the start of the course and is discussed in class. The same template form is used by staff and for students’ self-assessment. This also has space for critical comments.


Students were more confident after their formative presentation, both with presenting and with the co-assessment process.

Analysis and evaluation

Having the presentations video recorded (using the Echo360 system for recording lectures) was useful because it allowed students to reflect on and self-assess their presentations effectively. Students became more confident, especially if their self-assessment matched my assessment of their presentation. They have used their presentation experience as evidence of their communication skills in later job interviews. Students have reported that they have taken a deeper approach to their learning because of the co-assessment.

Students have become more aware of the skills they have been developing while engaged in voluntary work and have appreciated the value of this aspect of their learning experience.


This is a time consuming method of assessment, but it is of great value. It is best done with a small group of students. For any work-related or work-based learning, presentations are a good method of assessing graduate attributes because students can critically reflect on their skills and how they have been acquired or developed. Making a presentation involves communication skills, so it is possible that assessment could take an alternative form to co-assessment if necessary. However, using co-assessment involves students applying further, nuanced communication skills such as negotiation. It can also build students’ confidence.


Deeley, S.J. (2014) 'Summative co-assessment: A deep learning approach to enhancing employability skills and attributes’, Active Learning in Higher Education 15(1): 39-51. DOI: 10.1177/1469787413514649