The paper sets out a conceptual analysis of student performativity in higher education as a mirror image of teacher performativity. The latter is well known and refers to targets, evaluations and performance indicators connected with the measurement of the teaching and research quality of university academics. The former is defined as the way that students are evaluated on the basis of how they perform at university in bodily, dispositional and emotional terms. Specifically, this includes rules on class attendance and assessment (‘presenteeism’), an increasing emphasis on participation in class and in groups as part of learning and assessment regimes (‘learnerism’) and the surveillance of students’ emotional development and values (‘soulcraft’). Student performativity is symbolic of the ‘performing self’ in wider society and is transforming learning at university from a private space into a public performance. This negatively impacts student rights to be free to learn as autonomous adults. Copyright © 2014 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.
CitationMacfarlane, B. (2015). Student performativity in higher education: Converting learning as a private space into a public performance. Higher Education Research and Development, 34(2), 338-350. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2014.956697
- Student engagement
- Student learning
- Student rights