The Structured Assessment Dialogue

  • Jens Dolin
  • Jesper Bruun
  • Sanne S. Nielsen
  • Sofie Birch Jensen
  • Pasi Nieminen
Part of the Contributions from Science Education Research book series (CFSE, volume 4)


The two key purposes of assessment, formative and summative, are often in a contradictory position if they are used concurrently. The summative assessment of learning will often prevent the formative assessment for learning to be realised (Butler, J Educ Psychol 79(4):474, 1987), meaning that the learning potential of the assessment will often be minimal. It is therefore a central challenge to find ways to combine the dual use of assessment. The structured assessment dialogue (SAD) is a candidate for such a combination.

This chapter introduces the structured assessment dialogue – a short ritualised assessment method involving three distinct phases: A 5-min student-teacher dialogue, a 5-min peer feedback phase and finally 2–3-min of student self-reflection. We describe the rationales for the SAD and analyse results from classroom implementations in Denmark and Finland. First, using focus group interview data, we analyse teachers’ experiences with preparing, implementing and reflecting on SAD sessions. Most teachers found it a useful method of assessment, with different challenges for the various phases and aspects of the SAD. This points at the second focus for the chapter: Is it possible to characterise dialogues in a way that relates similar dialogues to student self-reflections and teacher preparation. To answer this, we apply network analysis on student-teacher dialogues to produce dialogical maps. These maps are then grouped via cluster analysis, and groups are linked to quantitative student self-reflection measures, quantitative teacher self-reflections and contextual data. We find six different groups of dialogues, each of which displays significant differences in terms of quantitative student self-reflections.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens Dolin
    • 1
  • Jesper Bruun
    • 1
  • Sanne S. Nielsen
    • 1
  • Sofie Birch Jensen
    • 2
  • Pasi Nieminen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Science EducationUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.King’s College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.University of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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