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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Raaper, R. (2019). Students as consumers? A counter perspective from student assessment as a disciplinary technology. Teaching in Higher Education 24(1): 1-16.

Author(s) from Durham


The notion of students as consumers who exercise educational decisions based on economic self-interest leads to interesting questions about their perceptions of current higher education assessment practices. Guided by a Foucauldian theorisation and the findings from focus groups carried out with students from two European universities, one from the UK and another from Estonia, the article argues that globally dominant consumerist policy discourses have altered but not removed the student experience of constraint in assessment. I argue that students’ response to disciplinary power in assessment has become highly strategic and differs depending on the institutional assessment systems: students from Estonia recognise the powerful position of academics as assessors and find ways to create a good social impression of themselves; their counterparts from the UK, however, demonstrate a tactical approach to their learning and study processes.

School of Education