Inclusive practice in learning, teaching and assessment is a practical approach which recognises and reflects the diversity of students. This enables all students to access and engage with modules, programmes and courses and participate fully in learning activities and demonstrate their knowledge and strengths through assessment. Inclusive practice values the diversity of the student body as a resource that enhances the learning experience.
This aspirational policy statement sets the path to develop a set of baseline standards and series of practical guides and resources to explore in more detail and support staff to implement key aspects of inclusive learning, teaching and assessment.
A commitment to inclusive practice in learning, teaching and assessment
All students should be supported to achieve their best. Inclusive practice in learning, teaching and assessment and targeted additional support, as appropriate, will empower all students to gain the most they can from an education at the University of York and play the fullest role in society. It will also enable staff to build confidence to adopt different approaches to build inclusive and accessible learning environments.
This policy statement supports our commitment as articulated in the University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (2017) which states that: ‘’we will proactively advance equality and inclusive practice in our staff and student recruitment and admissions processes, our research activity in our teaching, within the campus environment and in the experiences we offer to our staff and students.’’
- Equality: a fundamental part of a fair society in which everyone can have the best possible chance to succeed in life.
- Diversity: recognising that everyone is different in a variety of visible and non-visible ways, and that those differences are to be recognised, respected and valued.
- Inclusion: the active creation of a learning, working and social environment that is welcoming, which recognises and celebrates difference; and is reflected in structures, practices and attitudes.
Inclusive practice ensures that students are not treated less favourably or disadvantaged because of disability, age, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation (protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010). It also embraces the international and socio-economic diversity of our staff and student community.
Inclusive practice means that:
- Learning and teaching is enriched by the varied backgrounds and experiences of students and the diversity of the student community is recognised and respected - everyone will learn and benefit from this approach
- The whole learning experience and the means of delivery are accessible, removes barriers and anticipates and considers a variety of learning needs and preferences
- Students are more likely to engage with learning, and to reach their full potential
- All staff are confident to apply inclusive practice in their planning, preparation and approach to learning, teaching and assessment
Application of inclusive practice
This policy statement and supporting practical guides will be applied to all aspects of learning, teaching and assessment, this includes:
- Programme, module and curriculum design
- Contact events (including lectures, seminars, tutorials, lab-classes, academic supervision)
- Practical sessions, placements and fieldwork
- Developing teaching and learning materials
- Using technologies to support learning, teaching and assessment
- Teaching and learning support provided by the Maths Skills Centre, the Writing and Language Skills Centre and Information Services
- The design of spaces for teaching and learning
This policy statement and supporting practical guides apply to all undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University and all staff - in either academic or support areas who are involved in learning, teaching, assessment or related activity. It also applies to all modules, programmes and courses, irrespective of the mode of delivery, whether these are or are not credit bearing, or extra curricular learning activities.
A steering group will be established, supported by a number of pathfinder departments, to develop and implement a set of practical guides and resources to support this inclusive learning, teaching and assessment policy statement.
Further information and guidance is available from the University of York Statement on Teaching Performance Expectations and the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education.
This statement has been approved by University Teaching Committee and was ratified by University Senate in May 2018.