The links among theory, teaching practice, and evidence of student learning have increasingly gained traction in the public discourse in much of the Western world, as educational policy makers seek to bring together accountability demands with the push for improvements in student learning. This article draws on the notion of teaching and assessment as generations informed by diverse theoretical viewpoints. The article pursues three goals. First, it identifies distinct elements of social cognitive theory and the concept of triadic reciprocality in relation to the concepts of student agency and reciprocity between teachers and students’ in-classroom assessment as a learning process. Secondly, the article outlines the transformation of assessment practice over three generations of pedagogical theory. Thirdly, it argues that social cognitive theory offers a recalibrated understanding of assessment as a student-centred learning process.
Researchers conducting studies in communities have long taken an interest in exploring the different merits of positioning themselves as “insiders”, “outsiders”, or “in-betweeners” in relation to their participants. Yet research exploring the role of the researcher as a “critical friend”—a supportive yet challenging facilitator in self-evaluation processes—has not been fully examined. This chapter speaks to the FUGuE element of transformation—which in the present context, I define as a process where structures and forms undergo conversion. The chapter provides my account as a FUGuE researcher of exploring the methodological implications of my research with a small group of teachers at a primary school located in the Latrobe Valley in Central Gippsland. The emergent relationship now informs my teaching and research practices. The discussion draws on a recently commenced longitudinal study exploring teachers’ use of strategies and processes aimed at improving literacy practices—a phenomenon known as capacity building—through collaboration in a professional learning team, within a context of school improvement. Due to a prior connection with the school, I was invited to become a critical friend and active participant as the school initiated a new Professional Learning Team (PLT) in literacy. Informed by recorded conversations from the PLT meetings, my aim was to conceptualize the role and transformative implications of researching as an invited critical friend within a professional community. This chapter contributes to the methodological discourse of educational research by offering a contextualized analysis of the tensions among the notions of trust, credibility, and positionality as a critical friend researcher.