Dialogic assessment in the context of professional recognition: perspectives from the canoe

Sarah Floyd, Vicky Davies, Fiona Smart, Mark Dransfield

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This paper draws on the reflective evaluations of four experienced academic practitioners who each have roles in leading or contributing to Fellowship Schemes in a UK context (United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework, 2011) and are all Advance HE accreditors. The focus for the evaluation was the use of a dialogic approach within their respective Fellowship Schemes. The aim of the project was to better understand the conditions in which dialogues can thrive, and to surface the challenges. A collective autoethnographic method was decided upon to frame the evaluative process. Four one-hour online meetings were scheduled over a period of six weeks. The data were transcribed and analysed using a mind-map process and resulted in the emergence of a metaphor – that of a canoe trip in which five phases were identified: designing the vessel, getting aboard, settling in/ settling down, navigating the space and forward-wash. These five phases are overviewed here with the intention of provoking discussion in the academic practice community, drawing into conversation individuals who are concerned with assessment for learning generally, and those who have particular interest in the potential of dialogic assessments which culminate in a summative judgement. It adds to the literature focused on assessment in higher education by drawing to the fore the conditions in which dialogic approaches can thrive for the individual being assessed, while also facilitating reciprocal learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-43
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Jun 2021


  • assessment
  • HEA Fellowship
  • professional dialogues
  • scaffolded support
  • reciprocal learning


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