EXTENDED DEADLINE: Assessment and technology: the changing landscape

Call for papers for a special issue on:

Assessment and technology: the changing landscape

Guest Editors

Valentina Grion and Anna Serbati (University of Padova, Italy)

David Nicol (University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom) 

Extended deadline:  January 10th, 2018

Assessment in education is under pressure to change. Some drivers for change are internal and result from research and from new ways of thinking about assessment itself, and its educational purposes.  Other drivers are external and are the result of wider changes in society.  Technology falls into this second category. This special issue is concerned with change at the intersection of assessment and technology in education.

One only needs to scan the international literature to become aware that how people think about assessment is undergoing change. One recurrent theme in that literature is the growing consensus amongst researchers and practitioners that the core purpose of assessment is not to judge what students know and can do, to measure leaning outcomes and to certify achievements (assessment of learning). Rather, whatever assessment does, its primary role, many contend, should be to support learning itself, to help students acquire the attitudes, knowledge and skills they are expected to develop while in education and through their studies (assessment for learning). More than this, however, it must also prepare students for the variety of tasks and situations they will confront in the rapidly changing and complex environment they will experience beyond graduation (sustainable assessment). Only after addressing these short and long-term learning purposes can one properly design assessment to serve the purpose of certification. 

Another related theme, in the assessment literature, is a movement away from viewing assessment and the judgement of achievement as something that only teachers do and from which students learn, for example, from the feedback that teachers provide after making their judgements. An underpinning current in recent discourses about assessment is that students should assume more responsibility for assessment processes, that they must themselves learn to evaluate and make judgements about academic work, their own and that of others.  Some researchers maintain that making evaluative judgements about work, and generating feedback for oneself and providing it for others, not only enhances learning processes but is also a necessary requirement if students are to develop their own capacity to regulate their own learning, the ultimate goal of any educational process. Others have noted that learning to make judgements about the quality of work and to construct feedback are professional skills that have not received sufficient attention in educational curricula.  

Alongside these changes in conceptions, purposes and associated practices of assessment sits technological change, which is continuous, rapid and relentless.  Technology is not only altering how students are studying and the tools they are using to study (both within the institution and outside), but it is also at the same time altering the world that students are living in, and will confront beyond graduation. These changes are bringing into play new possibilities but also new challenges for assessment.  On the one hand, technology is providing new ways of supporting the different roles of assessment, for example, its learning role (e.g. students can now use mobiles to pose questions and get answers from teachers while lectures are in progress) and its measurement role (e.g. learning analytics). On the other hand, the shifting character of technology is transforming what is being assessed, how it is assessed, what is worth assessing and what it is possible to assess. Virtual and immersive environments, web 2.0, digital texts and their applications (blogging, wikis, twitter), multimedia and the use of digital artefacts are all inexorably becoming part of the assessment landscape. Indeed, some assessments are now born digital while others are growing up to be digital.  

Taken together these changes at the intersection of assessment and technology raise many questions for practitioners and researchers.  Two worth considering and which frame this call are: (i) How can we better utilise technology to support different assessment purposes? and (ii) How can we better understand assessment itself through the affordances that technology offers?   

There is already an extensive literature about technology and its role in supporting ‘learning’ in different classroom situations and across different educational contexts, including formal and non-formal contexts. However, publications and research that focus specifically on the relationship between technology and assessment are less extensive. Therefore, the aim of this special issue of IJET is to bring together some new material in this area. The intention is that this special issue will explore the changing landscape at the intersection of technology and assessment in education. It is an open call not limited to the themes discussed above which merely serve as a departure point. 

The Italian Journal of Educational Technology therefore invites researchers and practitioners to send in contributions on one or more of the topics outlined below. We particularly welcome papers that discuss the conceptual thinking underpinning examples of practical implementation.  Contributions from any educational sector (primary, secondary, higher) are welcome. 

Topics of Interest

  • Online assessment in its various forms in educational contexts
  • New perspectives, theories and/or models that might help us understand and interpret educational change at the intersection of assessment and technology.
  • Technology-enhanced assessment of learning: approaches and reflections on technology use to support summative assessment practices in schools and/or higher education
  • Technology-enhanced assessment for learning: new frontiers of students’ engagement and feedback using web 2.0 or other tools
  • Designs for and implementations of assessment within on-line and/or blended environments 
  • Self and peer assessment, peer review and feedback in technological environments
  • Students’ perceptions of, and challenges in, using technology to support assessment practices.

We welcome contributions in three forms:

  • Theoretical articles (maximum 6,500 words)
  • Research articles (maximum 6,500 words)
  • Review of the literature (maximum 6,500 words)

Contributions should be sent by January 10th, 2018, through the journal website, after registering as an author. Upon submission, please mention this call for papers in the field “Comments for the editors”. The papers, in English or Italian, should be formatted according to the author guidelines. All contributions are subject to a "double blind peer review" process. Publication is expected in Winter 2018. 

For further information about the issue, contact valentina.grion@unipd.itanna.serbati@unipd.it