Taking a Pass on Assessment Grades for a Career Focused Tour of the Middle East


  • Mat Hardy Deakin University
  • Sally Totman Deakin University




Middle East, Ungraded Assessment, Study Tour, Career development, personal reflection, Specifications Grading


The Middle East Study Tour (MEST) is a capstone elective unit that stands alone as a credit module towards an undergraduate degree. The tour has the dual purposes of exposing students to the Middle East region's political challenges and better illuminating potential career paths for life after university. But is one student's personal discovery (or their ability to express it in writing) more valuable than another's? Attaching a numerical grade to such endeavours would seem to indicate that. For this reason the MEST uses an 'Ungraded Pass' approach to the assessments. That is, the students pass the assignments (and the module) by submitting their work, but without any score being awarded. This article explains the mechanisms the MEST uses for assessment and how this aligns with the goal of the program to expose students to the real world of political struggles and career development.


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Author Biographies

Mat Hardy, Deakin University

Mat Hardy is a Senior Lecturer in Middle East Studies at Deakin University, Australia. He teaches on the politics and history of the Middle East and publishes on pedagogical issues related to the delivery of Political Science topics, including the use if online roleplay simulations. He is the convenor of Deakin's annual Middle East Study Tour, which takes undergraduate students to the region to further their understanding and develop their career plans.

Sally Totman, Deakin University

Sally Totman is an Associate Professor in Middle East Studies and is the Convenor of the International Relations and Middle East Studies programs at Deakin University, Australia. She publishes on the pedagogy of higher education and the link between celebrity and political persona.


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How to Cite

Hardy, M., & Totman, S. (2021). Taking a Pass on Assessment Grades for a Career Focused Tour of the Middle East. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 33(1), 148–167. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v33i1.507