Innovation or inhibition? Factors affecting student engagement with flexible assessment arrangements

– a multi-disciplinary perspective.



There has been increasing interest in providing students with flexible learning opportunities in Higher Education – allowing students greater choice with respect to when, where and how they engage with course materials, as well as how they are assessed. However, studies reporting flexible assessment strategies and their impact across different modes of study remain limited with little emphasis placed on students’ perspectives on, and experiences of, the role they play in assessment processes and what they need to benefit from such practices. This paper draws upon research seeking to identify the key design and practice factors shaping student engagement with flexible assessment arrangements. The paper analysed students’ qualitative views of flexible assessment designs deployed on multiple undergraduate programmes (including Chemical Engineering, Interior Design, and Business Management). Inductive thematic analysis revealed several recurrent factors affecting students’ engagement with assessment arrangements, each including key enabling and inhibiting features for realising greater flexibility in student assessment experiences. Evidence of the most effective strategies for achieving flexible assessment arrangements are discussed including the utilisation of a variety of accessible and inclusive approaches, digital tools, and implementation of a balanced range of authentic assessment tasks enabling all students to engage meaningfully and demonstrate their learning.


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How to Cite

Elkington, S., Chesterton, P., & Wood, A. . (2024). Innovation or inhibition? Factors affecting student engagement with flexible assessment arrangements: – a multi-disciplinary perspective . Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 5(3), 103–125. Retrieved from