"Sustainability in education may be interpreted as a feature of educational systems. It is not just about sustainability of the physical environment, but also about the sustainability of educational practices, some of which may be too resource-intensive to survive in a constrained financial environment. That is, promoting teaching, learning and assessment practices that involve less face-to-face but perhaps more effective contact between teachers and students. However, such a view of education is too narrow and provision-centred. What is more important for the longer term is to look at the notion of sustainability from the perspective of learning. What educational practices are needed now in order to form and sustain learners who will be able to operate effectively in a complex society?
From such a viewpoint, sustainability becomes transformed into a question of whether educational provision equips learners effectively, not just for immediate educational requirements, such as what they need to be able to do in a course, but also for whether it prepares them for what might be required in the future whether that be in educational institutions or beyond. That is, in higher education do educational activities equip learners for the multiplicity of challenges they will face after graduation? From this perspective, the consumption of educational resources is judged in terms of their effect in producing students who go on to become self-managing persons who, in association with others, can draw on whatever they need to continue learning effectively beyond the end of the course and be able to make judgements about their own learning outcomes. Sustainable learning is thus a function of what students gain from education, not what inputs are put into the process.
This paper focuses on the particular role of assessment in sustainability debates within education. It considers what sustainable assessment means and what is involved in building such ideas into courses to support learning in the longer term. Teachers may well be teaching with the longer term in mind, but unless this work is actively supported through assessment practices, their good intentions can be inhibited. This paper positions sustainable assessment as a way of rethinking outcomes, curriculum and pedagogy away from a focus on disciplinary knowledge to what students can do in the world. It reviews literature that has taken up the idea of sustainable assessment and its implementation. While it is judged to be a successful intervention in thinking about assessment, it suggests that the implications of sustainable assessment have yet to be fully embraced. This paper considers where the emphasis for further development should be and what related ideas might also be considered. It concludes by identifying directions for embedding sustainable assessment in courses and it discusses some of the key issues to be considered, with a particular stress on the role of assessment design."
Sustainable assessment revisited. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 09 Mar 2015 doi: 10.1080/02602938.2015.1018133
Sustainable assessment has been proposed as an idea that focused on the contribution of assessment to learning beyond the timescale of a given course. It was identified as an assessment that meets the needs of the present in terms of the demands of formative and summative assessment, but which also prepares students to meet their own future learning needs. This paper reviews the value of such a notion for assessment; how it has been taken up over the past 15 years in higher education and why it might still be needed. It identifies how it has been a successful intervention in assessment discourse. It explores what more is needed to locate assessment as an intervention to focus on learning for the longer term. It shows how sustainable assessment can help bridge the gap between assessment and learning, and link to ideas such as self-regulation, students’ making judgements about their own work and course-wide assessment.