Simon Lightfoot


The aims of this paper are to highlight the way policy briefs were employed as an assessment tool on a final year foreign policy orientated Politics/IR module in a UK university. It explores the skill/employability rationale behind the use of the tool alongside wider concerns about diversity of assessment before moving onto some practical aspects of its introduction within the module and the evolution of the task. Finally, it reflects on student opinion of the assessment, it highlights some of the expected and unexpected challenges in using policy briefs as an assessment tool and proposes some future modifications. Overall, this paper argues that policy briefs can be utilised on more “traditional” modules and that they have a range of benefits for both students and staff, confirming the general findings of Chagas-Bastos and Burges (2018) and others, whilst making a more explicit case for their use in relation to the fact that the tool allows students to demonstrate research-based employability skills.


Article Keywords

Policy brief, Assessment, Employability, Research-led teaching

Teaching, Learning and the Profession
Article Copyright
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Material published in the JCER is done so under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence, with copyright remaining with the author.
  • Articles published online in the JCER cannot be published in another journal without explicit approval of the JCER editor.
  • Authors can 'self-archive' their articles in digital form on their personal homepages, funder repositories or their institutions' archives provided that they link back to the original source on the JCER website. Authors can archive pre-print, post-print or the publisher's version of their work.
  • Authors agree that submitted articles to the JCER will be submitted to various abstracting, indexing and archiving services as selected by the JCER.
Further information about archiving and copyright are contained within the JCER Open Access Policy.