chapter  11
Assessment and emotion: The impact of being assessed
Pages 13

Assessment has traditionally been treated in the literature as a technical activity that involves measurement with little impact on those assessed. This chapter challenges this assumption and suggests that the unintended consequences of assessment are substantial. We identify some literature that might be useful in investigating the role of emotion in learning and assessment, but acknowledge that, surprisingly, it is a greatly under-researched area. We make a contribution of our own through the examination of a set of students’ autobiographical stories about the experience of being assessed. We suggest that, while the ways in which assessment is experienced are diverse, the experience of being assessed is interpreted as both positive and negative in its impact. In some cases the interaction between the learner and the assessment event is so negative that it has an emotional impact that lasts many years and affects career choices, inhibits new learning and changes behaviour towards one’s own students in subsequent teaching situations. We suggest that the emotional experience of being assessed is complex and is a function of the relationship between the expectations and dispositions of a learner, relationships between learners and other people, the judgements made about learners and the ways in which judgements are made.