There has been a remarkable growth of interest in the assessment of student learning and its relation to the process of learning in higher education over the past ten years. This interest has been expressed in various ways – through large scale research projects, international conferences, the development of principles of assessment that supports learning, a growing awareness of the role of feedback as an integral part of the learning process, and the publication of exemplary assessment practices. At the same time, more limited attention has been given to the underlying nature of assessment, to the concerns that arise when assessment is construed as a measurement process, and to the role of judgement in evaluating the quality of students’ work.
It is now timely to take stock of some of the critical concepts that underpin our understanding of the multifarious relationships between assessment and learning, and to explicate the nature of assessment as judgement. Despite the recent growth in interest noted above, assessment in higher education remains under-conceptualized. This book seeks to make a significant contribution to conceptualizing key aspects of assessment, learning and judgement.