Reframing assessment research: through a practice perspective

David Boud, Phillip Dawson, Margaret Bearman, Sue Bennett, Gordon Joughin, Elizabeth Molloy

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43 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1118
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • assessment decision-making
  • assessment research
  • exemplar
  • practice theory
  • student assessment

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