NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1057663
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-0260-2938
An Assessment Arms Race and Its Fallout: High-Stakes Grading and the Case for Slow Scholarship
Harland, Tony; McLean, Angela; Wass, Rob; Miller, Ellen; Sim, Kwong Nui
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, v40 n4 p528-541 2015
This research questions the impact of assessment on university teaching and learning in circumstances where all student work is graded. Sixty-two students and lecturers were interviewed to explore their experiences of assessment at an institution that had adopted a modular course structure and largely unregulated numbers of internal assessments. Lecturers rewarded student work with grades and controlled study behaviour with assessment. In some situations it was possible to experience hundreds of graded assessments in an academic year. Students were single-minded when it came to grades and would not work without them. These conditions contributed to competition for student attention and a grading arms race between academics and subjects. In this context, the spaces for achieving certain educational objectives, such as fostering self-motivated learners, were marginalised. Both students and lecturers were unsatisfied with this situation, but neither group could envisage radical change. Students were generally happy to accumulate small marks, while being irritated and stressed by frequent grading. Lecturers were aware of better practices but felt trapped by circumstances. The idea of slow scholarship is introduced to encourage a re-think of such assessment practices, support a positive shift in assessment culture and contribute to the theories of assessment.
Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand