Research Topic

Transparency in Assessment – Exploring the Influence of Explicit Assessment Criteria

About this Research Topic

In many schools and higher education institutions it has become common practice to share assessment criteria with students. Sometimes it is required for accountability purposes, at other times criteria are used as a means to communicate expectations to students. However, whether explicit assessment criteria should be shared with students is a controversial issue. On the one hand, research has shown that explicit criteria may positively affect student performance, reduce their anxiety, as well as support students’ use of self-regulated learning strategies. On the other hand, there are fears that explicit criteria may have a restraining influence on students’ learning, as well as limiting their autonomy and creativity. There are also indications of students becoming more performance oriented, as opposed to learning oriented, when being provided with explicit assessment criteria. Taken together, it is not fully understood under which circumstances it is productive for student learning to share explicit assessment criteria, and under which circumstances it is not. In particular, empirical research on the proposed negative effects of sharing criteria with learners is limited and most fears voiced in the literature are based on individual experiences and anecdotal evidence.

The aim of this Research Topic is therefore to bring different perspectives on transparency in assessment together, in order to further our understanding of how students are influenced by the use of explicit assessment criteria. A deeper understanding of the influence of explicit assessment criteria on students’ understanding of criteria, motivation, and learning is equally imperative for future research and educational practice, both of which need to go beyond individual opinions and convictions.

For this Research Topic we welcome both conceptual and empirical research on transparency in assessment, and we encourage research from a range of contexts, perspectives, and methodological approaches. In particular we are interested in manuscripts that may further our understanding of the relationship between explicit assessment criteria and students’ performance, motivation, and learning strategies.


Keywords: Assessment, Criteria, Performance, Standards, Transparency


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In many schools and higher education institutions it has become common practice to share assessment criteria with students. Sometimes it is required for accountability purposes, at other times criteria are used as a means to communicate expectations to students. However, whether explicit assessment criteria should be shared with students is a controversial issue. On the one hand, research has shown that explicit criteria may positively affect student performance, reduce their anxiety, as well as support students’ use of self-regulated learning strategies. On the other hand, there are fears that explicit criteria may have a restraining influence on students’ learning, as well as limiting their autonomy and creativity. There are also indications of students becoming more performance oriented, as opposed to learning oriented, when being provided with explicit assessment criteria. Taken together, it is not fully understood under which circumstances it is productive for student learning to share explicit assessment criteria, and under which circumstances it is not. In particular, empirical research on the proposed negative effects of sharing criteria with learners is limited and most fears voiced in the literature are based on individual experiences and anecdotal evidence.

The aim of this Research Topic is therefore to bring different perspectives on transparency in assessment together, in order to further our understanding of how students are influenced by the use of explicit assessment criteria. A deeper understanding of the influence of explicit assessment criteria on students’ understanding of criteria, motivation, and learning is equally imperative for future research and educational practice, both of which need to go beyond individual opinions and convictions.

For this Research Topic we welcome both conceptual and empirical research on transparency in assessment, and we encourage research from a range of contexts, perspectives, and methodological approaches. In particular we are interested in manuscripts that may further our understanding of the relationship between explicit assessment criteria and students’ performance, motivation, and learning strategies.


Keywords: Assessment, Criteria, Performance, Standards, Transparency


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 April 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 April 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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