What is Professional Judgement?

In his article on professional judgement and disposition Dottin quotes two earlier authors. Both quotes offer shallow, out of context ideas about professional judgement (PJ) and do nothing to get to the nub of what it is.  After reading Dottin’s paper, basic questions remain. What is PJ and how academically grounded or experienced does a practitioner need to be to have adequate PJ? Are there different levels PJ proficiency?

Other writers have pointed out that there is inevitably a degree of subjectivity when marking essays and that assessors necessarily call on their own PJ, but nowhere does this quality seem to be defined.

My modest investigations into the area suggest that there is a huge discrepancy in marks allocated to student papers when decisions are left to PJ. At the very least there needs to be moderation to bring the PJs closer together. Even then there are problems. Clearly when marking essays assessors are attempting to measure something that is very difficult to measure and precision cannot be expected. The aim must be to minimize inter and intra-assessor discrepancies while maintaining levels of validity.


Dottin, E.S. (2009) Professional judgment and dispositions in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education. 25. 83-88


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