The Sport and Exercise Management internship is predominantly undertaken by students in their third year of study in the Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Management. Options include a broad range of experiences within the sporting landscape, such as sport administration, marketing, events, and competitions. Internship partners include the NRL, Football Australia, schools, and local university sports clubs.
Kellie Ellis shares some recent developments in assessment design for this subject, making the process more relevant to professional practice and enabling students to reflect on their journey and progress in more diverse ways.
Challenging traditional written assessments
Assessments for this subject were traditionally summative, and biased towards students with strong writing skills. A review had demonstrated the need for a more formative approach, with opportunities for students to derive greater meaning from their placement experience.
Assessments needed to be rich, reflective, and embedded in learning experiences, enabling and empowering students to view themselves as industry-ready.
We wanted to embed assessment within the subject, for the students to shape meaning as they progressed through their placement, making learning a journey – rather than a summative product.
Building reflective loops into skills and portfolio assessments
Two key assessment tasks were re-designed, focussing on key professional skills and developing a professional portfolio. The assessments reflected ‘real world’ embedded learning, engaged industry and involved multiple stakeholders, including the UTS Career Hub.
To emphasise the importance of the students’ journey and process, reflective feedback loops were built into assessment, offering opportunities to re-visit and develop professional skills such as CV writing and interviewing before and after placement, with input from subject staff, internship partners and students themselves. Within these reflective loops, students demonstrate their ability to apply feedback as they move through the process and develop their autonomy and professionalism.
Finding a professional voice – literally
Further opportunities for different feedback formats were identified in the Professional Portfolio assessment. These include a recorded interview between the student and their supervisor, which the student reflects on to identify feedback they will apply in the remainder of their placement.
Students are also encouraged to actively reflect on their logbook notes from their placement, linking their learning back to their learning objectives, rather than simply logging activities. Whilst there are still written elements in the assessment, including a 500-word reflection on key learnings, the overall assessment process allows for students to demonstrate their strengths in different formats that are also industry-relevant (e.g. interviews and professional discussion).
Conversations that keep students, staff and industry engaged
With diverse and iterating formats, these assessment approaches are encouraging active engagement in the student learning journey by multiple stakeholders. Students enjoy the assessment tasks more and can more easily observe their own development trajectories. Their reflective skills are improving, and they are showing strong employment outcomes.
At the same time, subject staff are inspired and learning more about students, as the spoken assessment formats often reveal richer insights and less generic responses than written work. Staff are also staying current with industry experiences and strengthening relationships with industry partners as they get to know the details of their students’ journeys.
Going forward, the team is looking at how to include greater discussion around professional skills and portfolio, and even more opportunities for structured ‘interviewing’ formats to surface student reflections. They are also looking to link the strengths demonstrated by students in the professional skills and portfolio assessments to employment outcomes for further learnings.
Feature image by Amy Hirschi