The strategic approach to studying, and the value of assessment

Sutton, Paul (2016) The strategic approach to studying, and the value of assessment. Practitioner Research in Higher Education, 10 (1). pp. 3-12.

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In this paper I seek to reflexively theorise the following pedagogical problem: why do so many students adopt a strategic approach to studying and value assessment for the grade awarded rather than as a learning opportunity? Firstly, I differentiate my sociological perspective from the phenomenographic perspective, and argue that the strategic approach is worthy of serious analysis. Secondly, I deploy the concepts social character and the social individual to argue that the strategic approach is a product of extrinsic rather than intrinsic forces: it emanates from within the social relations of contemporary capitalism. Thirdly, I frame the strategic approach as academic labour using concepts from Marx’s labour theory of value: use and exchange value, concrete and abstract labour. This enables me to explain how assessment has become commodified and why students have a limiting quasi-market concept of value that privileges grades over learning. Finally, I argue that Marx’s dialectical method of enquiry enables practitioners to not only deconstruct the strategic approach to studying but also to challenge it.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Practitioner Research in Higher Education
Publisher: University of Cumbria
ISSN: 1755-1382
Departments: Academic Departments > Institute of Education (IOE) > Non-Initial Teacher Education (Non-ITE)
Additional Information: Paul Sutton is a student at University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth, UK.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2016 19:37
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 16:15


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