Teaching, Learning and Assessment in STEP

 IIS' Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy

At the Institute of Ismaili Studies, we are committed to offering our students a high quality experience. We are immensely proud of our multicultural learning community, and recognise that our Institution offers a social, academic and cultural experience. We celebrate the diversity of our students and staff, and recognise and respect the knowledge, skills and experiences we all contribute. We value our students’ enthusiasm, commitment and ambitions, and seek to offer rich learning opportunities to support the achievement of their personal, social, cultural, creative, intellectual and economic goals.

We believe that effective learning must be underpinned by the provision of excellent learning resources. We seek therefore to provide an appropriate learning environment in terms of physical teaching spaces to include those which provide for individual and small group learning. We regard the provision of hard copy and digital resources of both a contemporary and seminal nature to be a key element of our strategy.

In our learning, teaching and assessment strategy we wish to consolidate a culture for success. We strive to inspire and celebrate the attainment of excellence in our learning and teaching practice, and the extent to which these experiences equip our students to fulfil their aspirations as both learners and citizens. Thus our programmes seek to develop students’ analytical and critical skills as well as those valued by the employment arenas to which our students progress. Our curricula are challenging and rigorous whilst at the same time providing relevant breadth, depth and pace of learning. We strive to ensure that our approach to learning, teaching and assessment enables students to reach the relevant academic standard and to achieve the intended learning outcomes at the highest level of their personal ability. Encouraging students to develop independent learning skills is a key element of our approach. We seek to innovate practice, to challenge orthodoxy and to think differently about our students, so that we may best acknowledge their ambitions and empower their achievements.

We view assessment as an integral part of learning and regard formative assessment as a key part of assessing the success of learning. We ensure that students reflect on their own performance through the provision of timely, supportive and constructive feedback on formative (and summative) assessment. We strive to ensure that students are aware at the outset what is expected of them in the assessment process and ensure that these expectations are clearly set out for them.

Our strategy is intended to hold relevance and meaning for all members of our community - students and staff within departments - who are engaged in the many activities encompassed within teaching and supporting learning, assessment, scholarship and research. We seek to support the development and enhance the experience for all our students. The critical importance of strengthening relationships with all stakeholders is acknowledged, and of sustaining close links with our collaborative partners.

 The importance of peer support and collaboration, and of building effective partnerships between staff and students, is recognised. In seeking to strengthen a sense of ownership, pride and belonging within our learning community, the strategy emphasises empowerment, engagement, empathy and mutual respect. We recognise the benefits of using the virtual learning environment as a means of supporting and providing information to students. 

We respect individual learning preferences and styles, recognise the requirements of disability legislation, and aspire to develop learning, teaching and assessment practices that are truly inclusive, designed to enhance learner choice and achievement. We recognise the opportunities, as well as the challenges, that the use of emerging technology affords. The importance of understanding the ways in which todays learners differ is becoming more crucial and our learning and teaching practices must evolve to address todays new learners and establish the research required to understand the new pedagogies.

We believe that excellent scholarship, research and knowledge exchange underpins excellent teaching, learning and assessment, and participation in pedagogic and subject-specific activities are key aspects of professional practice. Projects which empower the student voice, locate staff and students as co-researchers, explore the needs and outcomes of our diverse student body, innovate in practice and explore its pedagogical basis are particularly valuable in this regard. Similarly, the importance of staff engagement in continuing professional development and critical reflection on practice is vitally important in attaining, and upholding, standards of excellence. This includes participation in activities internally and externally, staff development and review, our teaching observation scheme and engagement with relevant polices and strategies regarding all aspects of our practice.

A rigorous admissions policy is essential in ensuring all candidates selected for our programmes are equipped with the right level of skills necessary to be successful. This process is crucial to the IIS fulfilling its objectives and long-term strategic plans.

Our Strategy: Themes, Aims and Objectives

Our strategy, has five key aims, these are outlined below:

  • Provide a quality learning environment
  • Promote excellence and share best practices in teaching
  • Create and celebrate a culture of success for students and staff
  • Ensure students have the skills necessary for success in learning, personal development, and the enhancement of employability
  • Ensure that assessment is an integral element of learning. 


Download the full Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy here: