Purpose – Current discourses on educational assessment focus on the priority of learning. While this intent is invariably played out in classroom practice, a consideration of the ontological nature of assessment practice opens understandings which show the experiential nature of “being in assessment”. The purpose of this paper is to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – Using interpretive and hermeneutic analyses within a phenomenological inquiry, experiential accounts of the nature of assessment are worked for their emergent and ontological themes. Findings – These stories show the ontological nature of assessment as a matter of being in assessment in an embodied and holistic way. Originality/value – Importantly, the nature of a teacher's way-of-being matters to assessment practices. Implications exist for teacher educators and teacher education programmes in relation to the priority of experiential stories for understanding assessment practice, the need for re-balancing a concern for professional knowledge and practice with a students’ way of being in assessment, and the pedagogical implications of evoking sensitivities in assessment.
- Teacher education