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Call for Papers: 2018 Special Issue

Student Agency in Classroom Assessment


Guest Editors

Dr Lenore Adie, Learning Sciences Institute, Australia

Dr Jill Willis, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

Editorial Deadlines

Please email your submission to the special issue editors in a Word file.

Abstracts of 150 – 200 words due to editors –  May 26th, 2017
Authors of successful submissions advised – June 30th, 2017
First draft due to editors – September 5, 2017
Reviewer reports to contributors – November 2017
Final submission due to editors – December 12, 2017


Students frequently feature in assessment policy discussions as the objects of assessment. The Australian Educational Researcher is seeking submissions to a Special Issue that focuses on the role of students as active participants and capable agents in classroom assessment. 


With greater focus on large-scale assessment that enables international comparisons, student and teacher perspectives on what counts as valuable learning, and what assessment measures count as valid are rarely represented as evidence of quality learning. Classrooms are increasingly assessment sites driven by systemic imperatives, and regulated by the collection of data, where teachers and students are held to account through observations and audits. Assessment is exteriorised as a performance within cultures of surveillance and risk management (Page, 2017). Comparisons and displays of performance represent fields of judgement, that determine what learning is valued (Ball, 2003). To support students who can understand themselves as learners and contribute to the construction of knowledge both now and in the future, we need critical accounts of how students can develop control over fields of judgement.

This issue invites authors to explore how social processes that develop the mutual engagement of teachers and learners in learning through assessment can be identified and sustained (Connell, 2013). This issue provides an opportunity for authors to critically examine classroom assessment practices that focus on enhancing student agency and engagement. We understand agency as the temporally constructed engagement by actors of different structural environments - the temporal-relational contexts of action - which, through the interplay of habit, imagination and judgment, both reproduces and transforms those structures in interactive response to the problems posed by changing historical situations. (Emirbayer & Mische, 1998, p. 971)

In particular, we are interested in the challenges that have been identified and addressed, such as how approaches that empower and engage learners as owners of their learning and assessment can be developed and maintained. High quality original submissions on aspects of the role of students as agentic, active participants in classroom assessment and research related to practices, policies, methodologies and theoretical approaches are invited.

Possible topic areas include (but are not limited to):

  • How do students construct their engagement in classroom assessment, particularly those students who may not traditionally experience success?
  • Can innovative structural environments such as digital tools, new generation learning spaces or authentic assessment designs enable greater student agency in classroom assessment?
  • What temporal-relational contexts of action are needed to support feedback that leads to self-regulation and metacognition?
  • In what ways do imagination and habit enable students to develop greater control over their ability to practically evaluate their day-to-day learning?
  • How might intersections of summative and formative assessment be re-imagined to enhance student control over their learning?
  • When do disruptions to institutional classroom assessment practices lead to the transformation of those structures in ways that enhance student control of learning?
  • How might research methodologies that privilege student perspectives provide alternative understandings of assessment quality?


Ball, S. J. (2003). The teacher's soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of education policy, 18(2), 215-228.

Connell, R. (2013). The neoliberal cascade and education: An essay on the market agenda and its consequences. Critical Studies in Education, 54(2), 99-112. doi:10.1080/17508487.2013.776990

Emirbayer, M., & Mische, A. (1998). What is agency? 1. American journal of sociology, 103(4), 962-1023.

Page, P.  (2017). The surveillance of teachers and the simulation of teaching, Journal of Education Policy, 32(1), 1-13, DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2016.1209566

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