e-Assessment for learning and performativity in higher education: A case for existential learning


  • Jennifer Charteris University of New England
  • Fran Quinn University of New England
  • Mitchell Parkes University of New England
  • Peter Fletcher University of New England
  • Vicente Reyes University of New England




assessment, higher education, formative assessment, assessment for learning


This paper provides a critical and contextualised exploration of assessment for learning (AfL) as an important area of scholarship in higher education, particularly in online learning environments. Although AfL can speak to a range of education discourses, the specific focus here is on the performativity and experiential learning discourses around individual and collective notions of AfL in online settings (e-AfL). We argue that e-AfL practices that emphasise performativity and are used primarily for technicist purposes impoverish their potential to promote learning. We explore the existential notion that e-AfL can transcend formulaic and procedural interpretations of formative assessment in higher education. Rich, divergent approaches to e-AfL can support students in higher education courses to develop their funds of identity, thereby enhancing learner reflexivity and agency.


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Author Biographies

Jennifer Charteris, University of New England

Dr Jennifer Charteris is a Lecturer of Pedagogy within the School of Education. She has teaching experience in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. Jennifer has provided professional learning for principals and teachers that aimed to raise student achievement through targeted assessment for learning and culturally responsive pedagogies. Jennifer's main research interests are in the area of teacher and student learning/e-learning, identity and agency. Jennifer is on the Editorial Board of the Dialogic Pedagogy Journal and is a reviewer for Teacher Education Advancement Network Journal, Teachers and Curriculum Journal and Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice.


Fran Quinn, University of New England

Dr Frances Quinn is a member of the Science Education teaching team in the School of Education. She teaches Science and sustainability, primary and secondary science education, biology. Her research interests comprise: Science education (particularly biology); distance/blended science learning and teaching;, students' perceptions of learning science; and, Education for Sustainability.

Mitchell Parkes, University of New England

Dr Mitch Parkes is Lecturer in ICT Education. He teaches into both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the School of Education. Prior to working at UNE, Mitch was a secondary teacher with a teaching background in Computing Studies, Science and Mathematics. He is also a qualified Teacher Librarian.


Peter Fletcher, University of New England

Dr Peter Fletcher is a Lecturer in ICT Education. His career experience includes 16 years in industry based ICT, 15 months post-doctoral experience at Kansas State University in Physics Education, 3 years full–time secondary teaching, 5 years university teaching as well as 9 years part–time teaching across Technical and Further Education (TAFE NSW), private tuition, Adult Community Education (ACE), secondary school and university settings


Vicente Reyes, University of New England

Dr Vicente Reyes is a Lecturer, with the School of Education, UNE, Australia. He is Editor of the Policy and Leadership Studies Working Papers Series of the National Institute of Education (Singapore). He is a Fellow of the Centre for Chinese Studies of the Republic of China (Taiwan), the National Taiwan Normal University and a Visiting Academic at the Institute of Education, University of London. As a political scientist, he pursues research on educational reform, policy, leadership and governance.




How to Cite

Charteris, J., Quinn, F., Parkes, M., Fletcher, P., & Reyes, V. (2016). e-Assessment for learning and performativity in higher education: A case for existential learning. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(3). https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2595

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