Working Paper 58
Rethinking student involvement in assessment
Published February 2021

In this paper I offer a perspective on student involvement in assessment informed by critical theory and underpinned by a commitment to greater social justice within and through higher education. It builds on earlier work on assessment for social justice to argue that student involvement in assessment must be considered more broadly than simply students doing particular tasks. Instead, we must think of the student as a whole person, socially situated, and the ways in which engagement with assessment tasks nurtures both individual and social wellbeing. There are three streams to the argument proposed.

Firstly, that scholarship on assessment should do more to problematise the nature of knowledge and that understanding the complexities of knowledge in higher education has links to both the experiences of our student as a whole person and social justice. Secondly, that the purposes of assessment should be orientated to the critical theory notion of a social good, in which individual and social wellbeing are dialectically inter-related.

Finally, in thinking of the student’s involvement in assessment we must go beyond the conflation of the real world with the world of work which features in much of the literature on authentic assessment. Instead, I propose the importance of understanding the economic realm as a broad and heterogeneous sphere and one that cannot be disarticulated from the social realm. To illustrate these points I draw on data from the “Understanding Knowledge, Curriculum and Student Agency Project” which explores student perceptions of a wide range of learning and assessment experiences.

You can read the full working paper here.