Beyond washback effect: A multi-disciplinary approach exploring how testing becomes part of everyday school life focussed on the Construction of pupils´cleverness

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The growth in international assessments within education, and the frequently intense attention the results garner, make it highly relevant to examine how these assessments are affecting the ways in which education is understood, defined, and practiced. In order to analyze some of the complex consequences of educational assessment, we propose a multi-disciplinary approach that combines perspectives from Latour´s actor-network theory and critical psychology – a combination chosen in order to contribute to the critique of testing in a way that goes beyond common understandings of washback effects. This multi-disciplinary approach is applied to data from longitudinal fieldwork in five schools in Denmark. We analyze how the Danish national test in literacy becomes part of the social construction of cleverness and, in this way, interrogate the traditional understanding of positive or negative washback effects. The findings reported in this article reveal some of the significance of assessment with regard to how pupils´ cleverness is negotiated and constructed in and around literacy testing, and at concomitantly demonstrate how cross-disciplinary concepts based on theories of everyday life can contribute to the field of testing research with a critical perspective
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnual Review of Critical Psychology (Online)
Volume16
Pages (from-to)917-952
Number of pages35
ISSN1746-739X
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Kritische Psychologie

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