chapter  5
21 Pages

Perspectives on social justice and assessment: testing, social class and opportunity to learn

ByAlicia Curtin, Kevin Cahill, Kathy Hall, Dan O’Sullivan, Kamil Özerk

Assessment is one of the vehicles through which social and cultural reproduction of inequality in education happens. It can have a significant impact in relation to the experiences and outcomes of education in terms of race, gender, social class, ability and other potentials for marginalisation. This chapter focuses on ways in which assessment practices and social injustice issues come to be constituted in education settings. It explores how socioeconomic status, or social class, impacts upon opportunities to learn and how assessment moments often act as gatekeeping mechanisms to filter the educational opportunities based on performance. The ideological basis of social justice draws upon theories of equality of opportunity, condition and outcome, equity, theories of equitable redistribution of resources and emphasising recognition for marginalised groups. Assessment is a centrifugal point about which learner-identities become formed and reformed through the practices of schooling.