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Making Sense and Use of Assessments

Journal article
Authors Jennie Sivenbring
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research
Volume 63
Issue 5
Pages 759-770
ISSN 0031-3831
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Pages 759-770
Language en
Keywords assessment language, Assessments, equality, student perspective
Subject categories Pedagogical Work, Learning, Didactics, Pedagogy


The present article is concerned with how Swedish students in the last year of comprehensive school make sense and use of educational assessments of their school performance. Based on interviews with 28 students in Year 9, “talk about assessments” is analysed using a discourse analytical approach inspired by Michel Foucault’s theories. The study shows that students find it difficult to both understand and make use of the assessments given by their teachers due to the overly complicated language. To receive the grades they need to apply for upper-secondary school, the students use other strategies to stand out and be perceived as “good students,” thus the assessment discourse is effective in the construction of adjustable subjects.

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