Introduction: examining the social order of assessment
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book provides a telling example of how some individuals engage and construe different meanings from school assessment practices – the lived experience of assessment. It describes assessment as a public practice through an exploration of policies from a variety of selected countries. The book focuses on the influence of opportunity to learn, race, gender, social class, ability and other potential inequalities on the experience of assessment for young people. It deals with an inclusive model for assessment practice which prioritises assessment ideals such as inclusive values, conceptually informed assessment, disruptions of definitions of success and failure and broadening assessment outcomes. The book argues that a social justice lens and theme is required for a sociocultural understanding of assessment as collective and individual meaning making are inseparable in a discussion of assessment as testing.