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Effective Evaluation of Placement Learning Opportunities

Lead Institution: University of Bath
Collaborating with: freelance

This is a sub-project of Strengthening, extending and embedding employer engagement


Work placements have always been an important feature of the University of Bath’s degree programmes.  Good placements provide students with high quality learning opportunities, may help them to achieve higher marks and to make them more employable.  But what is it about placements that can be so beneficial and how can we distinguish between good and less good placement situations?

This project aimed to help staff involved in placements, in STEM disciplines and across the University, towards a deeper understanding of placement learning its promoters and inhibitors and therefore a clearer understanding of what it is about some placements, but not others, that constitutes high quality.  It provided guidelines and frameworks to help staff to identify the differences between good and less good placement situations, in terms of their potential for helping students to learn, and so ensure consistent, university-wide evaluation of placement learning opportunities.  The project also provided guidance for staff on setting appropriate placement learning outcomes.

Aims & Objectives


  • To enable the effective evaluation of placement situations across STEM disciplines and more widely.
  • To enhance HE staff understanding of placement learning.
  • To help define more clearly expected learning outcomes from placements within STEM disciplines.
  • To disseminate good practice in placement evaluation.



  • To explore current good practice in placement evaluation; exploring how general learning outcomes can be translated to cover individual learning outcomes in practice.
  • To briefly explore good practice guidelines produced by other HEIs and national bodies (e.g. QAA, ASET, NCWE).
  • To develop guidelines for the effective evaluation of placement situations: pre-placement (especially new placements), during placement e.g. placement visit and post-placement
  • To develop two frameworks for the analysis of qualitative data to enable practical evaluation of placements by placement staff.  One will analyse information from employers and the other will analyse data based on the placement experiences of students.  Evaluation involves consideration of alignment or disparity between the two frameworks.
  • To develop and deliver staff development workshops on
    • Understanding placement learning, its promoters and inhibitors
    • Setting appropriate placement learning outcomes; consideration will be given to both general and specific learning outcomes likely to be achieved through placements (see above)
    • Effective evaluation of placements as learning opportunities, pre-, during and post- placement and consideration of expected learning outcomes.
  • To assist academic staff in setting learning outcomes appropriate to degree programmes and individual placements where required
  • To facilitate trialling of guidelines and frameworks within some STEM departments

Staff involved

Dr Poppy Turner