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ERIC Number: EJ1129855
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1755-1382
The Strategic Approach to Studying, and the Value of Assessment
Sutton, Paul
Practitioner Research in Higher Education, v10 n1 p3-12 2016
In this paper I seek to reflexively theorise the following pedagogical problem: why do so many students adopt a strategic approach to studying and value assessment for the grade awarded rather than as a learning opportunity? Firstly, I differentiate my sociological perspective from the phenomenographic perspective, and argue that the strategic approach is worthy of serious analysis. Secondly, I deploy the concepts social character and the social individual to argue that the strategic approach is a product of extrinsic rather than intrinsic forces: it emanates from within the social relations of contemporary capitalism. Thirdly, I frame the strategic approach as academic labour using concepts from Marx's labour theory of value: use and exchange value, concrete and abstract labour. This enables me to explain how assessment has become commodified and why students have a limiting quasi-market concept of value that privileges grades over learning. Finally, I argue that Marx's dialectical method of enquiry enables practitioners to not only deconstruct the strategic approach to studying but also to challenge it.
University of Cumbria. Fusehill Street, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA1 2HH, United Kingdom. Tel: +44-1228-616338; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A