Assessment might dictate the curriculum, but what dictates assessment?


  • Phillip Dawson Monash University
  • Margaret Bearman Monash University
  • David J. Boud University of Technology, Sydney
  • Matt Hall Monash University
  • Elizabeth K. Molloy Monash University
  • Sue Bennett University of Woolongong
  • Gordon Joughin University of Queensland



assessment, decision-making, design, research, evidence


Almost all tertiary educators make assessment choices, for example, when they create an assessment task, design a rubric, or write multiple-choice items. Educators potentially have access to a variety of evidence and materials regarding good assessment practice but may not choose to consult them or be successful in translating these into practice. In this article, we propose a new challenge for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: the need to study the disjunction between proposals for assessment “best practice” and assessment in practice by examining the assessment decision-making of teachers. We suggest that assessment decision-making involves almost all university teachers, occurs at multiple levels, and is influenced by expertise, trust, culture, and policy. Assessment may dictate the curriculum from the student’s perspective, and we argue that assessment decision-making dictates assessment.


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Author Biographies

Phillip Dawson, Monash University

Phillip Dawson is a lecturer in Learning and Teaching, Office of the pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching), Monash University.

Margaret Bearman, Monash University

Margaret Bearman is a senior lecturer in the Health Professions Education and Educational Research Team, (HealthPEER) within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University.

David J. Boud, University of Technology, Sydney

David Boud is Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney.

Matt Hall, Monash University

Matt Hall is Educational Excellence Coordinator in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching), Monash University.

Elizabeth K. Molloy, Monash University

Elizabeth Molloy is director of the HealthPEER team in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University.

Sue Bennett, University of Woolongong

Sue Bennett is Associate Professor of ICT in Education and Director of the Education IT Centre in the Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong.

Gordon Joughin, University of Queensland

Gordon Joughin is Acting Director of the Teaching and Educational Development Institute (TEDI), University of Queensland and a Visiting Professor at Leeds Metropolitan University.


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How to Cite

Dawson, Phillip, Margaret Bearman, David J. Boud, Matt Hall, Elizabeth K. Molloy, Sue Bennett, and Gordon Joughin. 2013. “Assessment Might Dictate the Curriculum, But What Dictates Assessment?”. Teaching &Amp; Learning Inquiry 1 (1):107-11.