Assessment for learning

Perrotta, Carlo and Whitelock, Denise (2017). Assessment for learning. In: Duval, Eric; Sharples, Mike and Sutherland, Rosamund eds. Technology Enhanced Learning: Research Themes. Cham: Springer, pp. 127–135.



The aim of this chapter is to discuss four influential papers that exemplify the degree of theoretical and empirical development in e-assessment. The distinction between summative and formative (“for learning”) forms of assessment is examined in light of the regulatory environments in education, which favour experimentation in the area of low-stakes, developmental assessment, but tend to constrain the adoption of more innovative approaches in high-stakes, summative assessment. Drawing on the seminal contributions of Royce Sadler, the chapter introduces the theory of feedback at the heart of e-assessment, focusing in particular on the importance of self-regulation, motivation and dialogue. It then turns to the work of Nicol, MacFarlane-Dick and Milligan to describe seven principles of good assessment practice and their technological implications. In the final section, the chapter examines Randy Elliot Bennet’s notion of “inevitable innovation” in assessment to articulate a more critical analysis of the innovation trajectory of e-assessment. In the conclusion, the paper argues that while it is true that assessment shapes teaching and learning to a great degree, different ways to conceptualise learning and technology also influence practices and innovations in e-assessment.

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