Shifting Views of Assessment: From Secret Teachers’ Business to Sustaining Learning

Edinburgh University Press
Publication Type:
Advances and Innovations in University Assessment and Feedback, 2014, pp. 1 - 13
Issue Date:
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Offers a historical overview of how assessment practices have changed over the past four decades. Boud observes that despite some drastic changes and shifts in positive directions, the emphasis on formative assessment has lessened today in that now much assessment ‘counts’ towards a final mark. He calls for a new agenda in assessment practices, one that focuses explicitly on developing students’ capacity for judgement. This capacity for judgement is associated with the emergent agenda of ‘sustainable assessment’, which suggests that the purpose of assessment is not just to generate grades, or to influence present learning, but importantly to build students’ capacity to learn and assess themselves beyond the current task, for example as they are engaged in lifelong learning in professional practice.
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