The ‘practice’ of implementing new assessments

How does an educator go from having an idea for a new assessment, to having it implemented in their course? In a recently published paper in Studies in Higher Education, we used practice theory to help understand ‘bringing a new task into being’. We hope that using practice theory as a way to understand assessment might help us move beyond just measurement and learning, to understand the sayings and doings, contexts, relationships and materials of assessment:

Assessment as a field of investigation has been influenced by a limited number of perspectives. These have focused assessment research in particular ways that have emphasised measurement, or student learning or institutional policies. The aim of this paper is to view the phenomenon of assessment from a practice perspective drawing upon ideas from practice theory. Such a view places assessment practices as central. This perspective is illustrated using data from an empirical study of assessment decision-making and uses as an exemplar the identified practice of ‘bringing a new assessment task into being’. It is suggested that a practice perspective can position assessment as integral to curriculum practices and end separations of assessment from teaching and learning. It enables research on assessment to de-centre measurement and take account of the wider range of people, phenomena and things that constitute it.

Details on the article are below. The first 50 people to click that link get a free copy of the article; get in touch with me if you have any difficulties.

Reframing assessment research: through a practice perspective. Studies in Higher Education, 2016. Boud, D., Dawson, P., Bearman, M., Bennett, S., Joughin, G. & Molloy, E.

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