Birmingham Business School Explores Decolonising Academic Assessments

Birmingham Business School hosted a workshop on decolonised assessment frameworks, integrating diverse knowledge systems and innovative evaluation methods.

Aston Webb building, Edgbaston campus, University of Birmingham

Birmingham Business School hosted a workshop titled "Decolonising Assessments in Teaching: A Collaborative Exploration." The event brought together teaching academics to collaboratively reimagine assessment practices that reflect a broader and more inclusive understanding of intelligence and achievement.

The workshop began with a presentation by Dr Kelly Rogers on the concept of decolonisation in academia, specifically focusing on how colonial legacies have shaped current assessment frameworks. Participants discussed the importance of integrating diverse knowledge systems and moving beyond Eurocentric perspectives that often dominate traditional assessments.

External participants, including Dr. Sara Gracey and Dr. Steve Grice. Dr. Gracey delivered a compelling presentation on the evolution of assessments and academic rigor, emphasising the need for inclusive evaluation methods that reflect diverse student backgrounds and learning styles. He provided examples from his work in engineering education, demonstrating how decolonised assessments can be both innovative and impactful. Examples provided included engineering projects that integrate indigenous knowledge and practices.

Their expertise and perspectives enriched the discussion and provided practical strategies for implementing decolonised curricula

Several key points were covered during the workshop:

  • Bias in Content: Traditional assessments often prioritise Eurocentric knowledge, sidelining indigenous and non-Western knowledge systems. For example, in business management courses, case studies and theories are predominantly based on Western practices, overlooking valuable insights from other cultural contexts.
  • Cultural Relevance: Traditional assessment methods may fail to acknowledge diverse cultural contexts and experiences. For instance, leadership courses might focus on Western leadership styles, ignoring successful models from non-Western cultures.

The workshop also included case studies demonstrating decolonised assessment methods across various disciplines:

  • Leadership: Instead of traditional essays, students created reflective journals on leading diverse teams, assessed on empathy and cultural navigation skills.
  • Human Resource Management: Students conducted interviews with employees from diverse backgrounds to explore workplace diversity, assessed on critical analysis.
  • Engineering: Students collaborated on projects with local communities, focusing on real-world challenges, assessed on technical proficiency and social impact awareness
  • Global Contemporary Management Issues: Students engaged in discussions analysing case studies from different cultural contexts, and assessed on cross-cultural communication and ethical decision-making.

To support decolonisation in assessments, several strategies were proposed:

  • Incorporating diverse readings and resources from non-Western authors and scholars.
  • Using inclusive language and culturally relevant examples in assessments.
  • Encouraging critical reflection on cultural contexts and promoting peer and self-assessment.


The workshop highlighted the need for continuous feedback and review to ensure assessments remain inclusive and aligned with decolonisation goals. By adopting these strategies, educators can create more equitable and culturally responsive assessment frameworks.