CGHE seminar 97

Assessment for social justice: insights from chemistry and chemical engineering

  • Thursday, 13 Dec 2018 12:30 - 14:00
  • Room 728, UCL Institute of Education
  • Jan McArthur, Lancaster University


Using the work of third generation critical theorist Axel Honneth, Dr McArthur will introduce his understanding of social justice as mutual recognition, and her own conceptualisation of assessment for social justice.

Taking inspiration from the extensive research on assessment for learning, she argues that assessment has been under-represented in discussions of critical pedagogy and social justice within higher education. There is a tendency to consider assessment off bounds when considering the explicitly political nature of socially just higher education; however, change can only ever be limited if we don’t include assessment in the process.

Dr McArthur proposes five foundations that should shape assessment practices, if we are committed to greater social justice. To illustrate the ways in which assessment might contribute to greater social justice she draws on preliminary data from the Understanding Knowledge, Curriculum and Student Agency project and considers the ways in which students in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering attribute value to their assessment achievements.

She argues that students must have opportunities to connect their assessment activities with a positive contribution to the social whole if we are to further social justice.


All seminars are free and open to the public. No advance booking required.


You can register to watch the livestream of this seminar.

Jan McArthur

Jan McArthur

Jan McArthur is a Senior Lecturer in Education and Social Justice in the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University. Her research interests focus on the purposes of higher education and teaching, learning and assessment within a social justice framework. She recently published her second book, Assessment for Social Justice (Bloomsbury).

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