Why Students Don’t Like Assessment and How to Change Their Perceptions in 21st Century Pedagogies


In more than thirty years of teaching and testing students of all ages and across all learning stages—primary, secondary, college, university undergraduates and postgraduates—I am yet to find a student who looked forward to an assessment task they were to complete. Why? One might ask: why don’t students like assessment? And how can we change their perceptions? To lay the ground-work for answering these perplexing and yet important pedagogical questions, this paper starts with an explanation of the meaning of educational assessment. It then delineates the different types of assessments and their intended purposes before examining reasons why students don’t like assessment. This is followed by suggestions of what we could do as pedagogues, to make assessment meaningful and attractive to students in 21st century learning so as to change their perceptions of assessment. The paper argues that just as effective teaching and learning need to change from the orthodoxy 3Rs and core subjects that drove the Industrial Age to a New Learning Paradigm which includes the Super 4Cs Skills of the 21st century, (critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, creativity and innovation, and communication), so does assessment need to change if it is to serve its moral purpose in 21st century education.

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Kivunja, C. (2015) Why Students Don’t Like Assessment and How to Change Their Perceptions in 21st Century Pedagogies. Creative Education, 6, 2117-2126. doi: 10.4236/ce.2015.620215.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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