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Dancing with Covid: Choreographing examinations in pandemic times

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
  • C. Alarcón López
  • M. Decuypère
  • J. Dey
  • R. Gorur
  • M. Hamilton
  • C. Lundahl
  • E. Sundström Sjödin
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>8/06/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>European Educational Research Journal
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date8/06/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

In this paper, we explore the improvisations made in examination practices in higher education during the pandemic of 2020. Drawing on STS, we start from the theoretical assumption that examinations constitute an obligatory passage point in universities and colleges: a sacred point which students need to pass if they want to gain recognized qualifications. We base our analysis of higher education examinations on cases from six countries around the world: Australia, Belgium, Chile, India, Sweden and the UK. We use the analytical heuristic of choreography to follow the movements, tensions and resistance of the ‘emergency examinations’ as well as the re-orderings of actors and stages that have inevitably occurred. In our analytical stories we see the interplay between the maintenance of fixed and sacred aspects of examinations and the fluidity of improvisations aimed at meeting threats of spreading Covid-19. These measures have forced the complex network of examinations both to reinforce some conventional actors and to assemble new actors and stages, thus creating radically new choreographies. Although higher education teaching and didactics are being framed as a playground for pedagogical innovation with digital technologies, it is clear from our data that not all educational activities can be so easily replicated.