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Special Issue Call for Papers

Advancing Assessment and Feedback Processes that Incorporate Disciplinary Practices

The assessment for learning movement focuses on ensuring that assessments constructed by teachers are designed to enhance the learning process (Stobart, 2008). Several principles have been central to this movement, including clarifying and sharing intended learning outcomes and criteria for success, designing effective assessment tasks that generate evidence of students’ achievement against those learning outcomes, providing feedback that moves learners forward, engaging students as instructional resources for each other, and activating students as the owners of their own learning through processes such as self-assessment (Black & Wiliam, 2018).

Literature on assessment for learning is relevant at all educational levels, although higher education research tends to be siloed from those at other educational levels. This special issue seeks to bring together higher education research with secondary education research through a focus on engagement with disciplinary practices that form a common foundation across these different educational stages. We welcome papers specific to any discipline at either educational level.

Fulfilling the educational potential of assessment for learning requires that assessment tasks and processes reflect the deep and implicit structures of a discipline and its knowledge generation practices. In higher education, the term signature pedagogies (Shulman, 2005) has been used to describe the ways in which students are socialised into characteristic habits of mind, heart and hands of a particular profession or discipline. “Signature pedagogies...implicitly define what counts as knowledge in a field and how things become known. They define how knowledge is analysed, criticised, accepted or discarded. They define the functions of expertise in a field, the locus of authority, and the privileges of rank and standing...these pedagogies even determine the architectural design of educational institutions, which in turn serves to perpetuate these approaches.” (Shulman, 2005, p. 55).

To date, attention to such disciplinary practices has been largely neglected in research on assessment and feedback (Coffey, Hammer, Levin, & Grant, 2011). Several notable exceptions illustrate how disciplinary practices can be brought explicitly into the design and implementation of assessment and feedback processes (Buchy, & Quinlan, 2000; Cowie & Moreland, 2015; Esterhazy, 2018).

Through discipline-sensitive implementation of assessment for learning, students have the opportunity to become apprentices in the practices of the disciplinary or professional community they are studying through authentic tasks, performances and feedback practices (Wiggins, 1989; Winstone, et al, 2017). This special issue will explore possibilities for what we are calling “signature assessment and feedback processes” through a collection of theoretically framed and grounded empirical papers that:

  • Situate particular assessment and feedback practices within a particular discipline and are tailored appropriately to the level of students taught. How are these assessment and feedback practices developed from or assessed against disciplinary norms, standards and practices?
  • Explore the particular tasks, tools, material infrastructure, social processes, conceptual resources/scaffolds and conventions that comprise the assessment activity. Which are the essential ingredients? How do they work in synergy? What challenges do they pose?
  • Analyse how engagement with those assessment and feedback activities allows students to participate more fully or effectively within the disciplinary community.
  • Show evidence of how students come to better understand and/or enact the core abilities and/or attributes of those disciplinary communities through those assessment and feedback activities.
  • Discuss how 'success' in any discipline based teacher assessment is evaluated.
  • Contextualise the study in its broader assessment environment, recognising that teacher assessments play quite different roles in different systems, from constituting most of students’ grades/outcomes to nearly none.


Submission Guidelines

Expressions of interest of up to 1000 words should give a working title and outline the proposed content, including the rationale, theoretical/conceptual frameworks being considered, methods, findings, and implications for practice. Email proposals and any informal inquiries to E.Pitt@kent.ac.uk, copying K.M.Quinlan@kent.ac.uk.

Authors of successful proposals will be invited to submit a full article (5,000-7,000 words excluding references). Please note that encouragement to proceed to a full submission does not guarantee publication.  Articles received will be subject to full double blind peer review using normal journal procedures. 

Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice provides a focus for scholarly output in the field of assessment. The journal is explicitly international in focus and encourages contribution from a wide range of assessment systems and cultures. The intention is to explore both commonalities and differences in policy and practice.

Assessment in Education is the official journal of the International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA): www.tandf.co.uk/journals/aie


Language: en-US

Publisher: tandf

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Guest Editor

Edd Pitt and Kathleen M Quinlan

Submission Timeline

  • (Mid-June 2019 – Call for proposals issued)
  • 9 August 2019 – Deadline for proposals up to 1000 words
  • End of September 2019 – Decision on proposals communicated to authors
  • April 2020 – Deadline for submission of full manuscripts – 5,000-7,000 words
  • (July 2020 – Deadline for peer review)
  • September 2020 – Decision on full manuscripts communicated to authors
  • November 2020 – Deadline for submission of revised articles
  • June 2021 – Anticipated Publication of Special Issue

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Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (2018). Classroom assessment and pedagogy. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice, 25 (6), 551-575.

Buchy, M., & Quinlan, K.M. (2000). Adapting the scoring matrix: a case study of adapting disciplinary tools for learning centred evaluation. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 25(1), 81-91.

Coffey, J. E., Hammer, D., Levin, D. M., & Grant, T. (2011). The missing disciplinary substance of formative assessment. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48, 1109–1136.

Cowie, B., & Moreland, J. (2015). Leveraging disciplinary practices to support students’ active participation in formative assessment. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice, 22 (2), 247-264.

Esterhazy, R. (2018). What matters for productive feedback? Disciplinary practices and their relational dynamics. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 43 (8), 1302-1314.

Shulman, L.S. (2005). Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus, 134 (3), 52-60.

Stobart, G. (2008). Testing times: The uses and abuses of assessment. Milton Park: Routledge.

Wiggins, G. (1989). A True test: Toward more authentic and equitable assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 70 (9), 703-713.

Winstone, N., Nash, R. A., Rowntree, J., & Parker, M. (2017). ‘It’d be useful, but I wouldn’t use It’: Barriers to university students’ feedback seeking and recipience. Studies in Higher Education, 42 (11), 2026-2041.