Assessment for Empowerment: Using the Assessment Criteria to Create a Transformative Dialogic Learning Space

Bain, Jennifer and Golmohammadi, Lili. 2016. 'Assessment for Empowerment: Using the Assessment Criteria to Create a Transformative Dialogic Learning Space'. In: Assessment in Higher Education Seminar- Transforming Assessment and Feedback in Higher Education on a wider scale: The challenge of change at institutional level. Manchester, United Kingdom. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Higher Education (HE) assessment practice remains imbued with the principles of behaviourism (Brown, 2006). The use of learning outcomes and ‘constructively aligned’ assessment criteria are based on behaviourist principles, o en requiring educators to conform to a model where learning is pre-determined, designed in a way that negates the need for discussion and instead creates a ‘dialogic vacuum’ around assessment (Bain, 2010). This can present a paradox for educators who seek to integrate more contemporary theories of learning, such as Transformative Learning (Meizirow, 2000) and Expansive Learning (Engestrom, 2009), into their practice.
Drawing on a conceptual framework, Assessment for Becoming (Bain, 2010), that places democratic dialogue at the centre of assessment practice, this paper seeks to examine this paradoxical dilemma by focusing on how assessment criteria might be framed and used in ways that seek to empower HE learners through assessment. Through an illuminative case study, that formed part of phase 2 of research spanning 2012 to 2015, this paper explores how assessment criteria might be used to help transform the ‘dialogic vacuum’ of assessment, the empty dialogic space that o en surrounds assessment practice, into a rich and vibrant community of practice. Initial findings from the case study o er insights into how this vacuum might be filled with learning conversations and narratives, and consider the impact of this on HE learners. This is done through a quasi-experimental approach, contrasting the experiences of a dialogic assessment practice to prior experiences of being assessed in HE.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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30 June 2016Accepted

Event Location:

Manchester, United Kingdom

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Date Deposited:

28 Apr 2017 13:04

Last Modified:

02 Jan 2019 16:09


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