“Pedagogical Jottings”


The purpose of this page is to share some of my ongoing reflections on  ‘things pedagogical’. It is not intended to be as formal or as regular as a blog, but instead be an occasional and  informal consideration of  ideas, concepts and practices that I personally find interesting.

Assessment 22.4.2018

I am currently writing a chapter for a forthcoming 2nd edition of  book edited by Cordelia​ ​Bryan​ ​and​ ​Karen​ ​Clegg and titled  Innovative​ ​Assessment​ ​in​ ​Higher​ ​Education and during my reading of the literature in preparation, I read something which gave me pause for thought, which I  share here.

‘…assessment always acts as an intervention into student learning’ (Bearman et al, 2016, p.547)

This small statement made me think again about the powerful nature of the assessment tasks that we set students. It goes beyond Biggs’ (1996) conception of constructive alignment because assessment may, and I would argue frequently does, have unintended consequences. Do we want our students to simply do well in their assessment or do we want them to go beyond the set task and develop as learners? Too often I fear in the current climate of transparency involving explicit assessment criteria and giving feedback to help students perform better on their next assessment, they are focused on developing assessment skills rather than learning to learn skills.


Bearman , M., Dawson, P., Boud, D., Bennett, S. Hall, M & Molloy, E. (2016) Support for assessment practice: developing the assessment design decisions framework, Teaching in Higher Education, 21 (5):545-556.

Biggs, J., 1996. Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher education32 (3):347-364.

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