Assessment and emotion: the impact of being assessed

Falchikov, Nancy and Boud, David ORCID logoORCID: (2007) Assessment and emotion: the impact of being assessed. In: Rethinking Assessment for Higher Education: Learning for the Longer Term. Boud, David ORCID logoORCID: and Falchikov, Nancy, eds. Routledge, pp. 144-156. ISBN 9780415397780, pbk-ISBN 9780415397797, e-ISBN 9780203964309. [Book Section] (doi:10.4324/9780203964309-19)


Assessment has traditionally been treated in the literature as a technical activity that involves measurement with little impact on those assessed. This chapter challenges this assumption and suggests that the unintended consequences of assessment are substantial. We identify some literature that might be useful in investigating the role of emotion in learning and assessment, but acknowledge that, surprisingly, it is a greatly under-researched area. We make a contribution of our own through the examination of a set of students’ autobiographical stories about the experience of being assessed. We suggest that, while the ways in which assessment is experienced are diverse, the experience of being assessed is interpreted as both positive and negative in its impact. In some cases the interaction between the learner and the assessment event is so negative that it has an emotional impact that lasts many years and affects career choices, inhibits new learning and changes behaviour towards one’s own students in subsequent teaching situations. We suggest that the emotional experience of being assessed is complex and is a function of the relationship between the expectations and dispositions of a learner, relationships between learners and other people, the judgements made about learners and the ways in which judgements are made.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
Item ID: 21437
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Depositing User: Louis Van Baelen
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2017 15:51
Last Modified: 14 May 2021 23:44

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