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Advances and Innovations in University Assessment and Feedback

Edited by Carolin Kreber, Charles Anderson, Noel Entwistle, Jan McArthur

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Uses theory and empirical research to explore changing perspectives and innovations in assessment

Our understanding of the purposes of assessment and the nature of assessment practices in higher education has changed markedly over the past forty years. These changes are a response not only to recent developments in our conceptualisations of student learning but also to the demands a rapidly changing and increasingly complex world places on students. This book contains new perspectives on assessment and feedback provided by world renowned researchers on issues that are currently of great interest to both academic managers and teaching staff, as they try to make courses more effective and more appealing at a time when universities compete for incoming students. Rather than simply sharing recent inventions in assessment and feedback, the contributors to this book highlight the linkages between these innovations and new theorising and empirical research on assessment and student learning, thereby offering practices that are not only pioneering but evidence-based.

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List of Tables
List of Figures
Foreword, Professor Timothy O’ Shea, Principal, The University of Edinburgh
Noel Entwistle, Carolin Kreber, Charles Anderson, and Jan McArthur, University of Edinburgh, UK
Part A: Changing perspectives on the nature and purposes of assessment
1. Shifting views of assessment: From secret teachers’ business to sustaining learning, David Boud, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
2. Flourishing amid Strangeness and Uncertainty: Exploring the Meaning of ‘Graduateness’ and its Challenges for Assessment, Carolin Kreber, University of Edinburgh, UK
3. Assessment for learning environments: A student-centred perspective, Liz McDowell and Kay Sambell, Northumbria University, UK
Part B: Students’ perceptions of assessment and feedback, 4. Perceptions of assessment and their influences on learning, Noel Entwistle University of Edinburgh, UK and Evangelia Karagiannopoulou University of Ioannina, Greece
5. Students’ and teachers’ perceptions of fairness in assessment, Telle Hailikari, Liisa Postareff, Tarja Tuononen, Milla Räisänen and Sari Lindblom-Ylänne
University of Helsinki, Finland
6. Perceptions of assessment standards and student learning, Michael Prosser, University of Hong Kong
Part C: Reconceptualising important facets of assessment
7. Only connect? Communicating meaning through feedback, Charles Anderson, University of Edinburgh, UK
8. Learning from assessment events: The role of goal knowledge, Royce Sadler, University of Queensland and Griffith University, Australia
9. The learning-feedback-assessment triumvirate: Reconsidering failure in pursuit of social justice, Jan McArthur, University of Edinburgh, UK
Part D: Innovations in assessment practices
10. Guiding principles for peer review: Unlocking learners’ evaluative skills, David Nicol, University of Strathclyde, UK
11. Disruptions and Dialogues: Supporting collaborative connoisseurship in digital environments, Clara O’Shea and Tim Fawns, University of Edinburgh, UK
12. Understanding students’ experiences of being assessed: The interplay between prior guidance, engaging with assessments and receiving feedback, Velda McCune and Susan Rhind, University of Edinburgh, UK
Notes on Contributors

About the Author

Carolin Kreber is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Edinburgh, where she is also Director of the Higher Education Research Group. A recent book explores teaching and learning in higher education through the lens of authenticity (Authenticity in and through teaching in higher education, Routledge, 2013). Present work is concerned with professional learning within the academy, interpretations of professionalism, and preparation for practice to create a more just and sustainable future.

Charles Anderson is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of the Institute for Education, Community and Society at the University of Edinburgh. His research has ranged over a number of aspects of higher education and secondary school education, while maintaining a central focus on textual practices and on communication.

Noel Entwistle is Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Edinburgh and has been the Editor of the British Journal of Educational Psychology and of Higher Education. He has honorary degrees from the Universities of Gothenburg and Turku, and holds an Oeuvre Award from the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction. His main research interests continue to be in student learning and understanding at university level. He is a Co-Editor of a Palgrave Macmillan series on Universities in the 21st Century and recent publications include Student Learning and University Teaching (editor, BJEP, 2007), Teaching for Understanding at University (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), along with a chapter in Enhancing the Quality of Learning (CUP, 2012).

Jan McArthur is a Lecturer in Higher Education at the University of Edinburgh. She holds a PhD in Educational Research from Lancaster University and has taught in higher education in both Australia and the United Kingdom. Her research interests span the nature and purposes of higher education, social justice within and through higher education and dialogue/student voice within assessment, learning and feedback. She has a particular interest in critical theory, and its applications to higher education research and practice, and especially the work of Theodor Adorno, as demonstrated in her recent book: Rethinking Knowledge within Higher Education: Adorno and Social Justice.


This collection of original papers is a fitting tribute to Dai Hounsell’s impressive contributions to the scholarship of teaching, learning and assessment in higher education. The editors have gathered an impressive array of talent who provide state-of-the-art commentaries on a wide range of assessment and feedback issues.

- David Carless, Professor of Educational Assessment, University of Hong Kong

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