This book highlights the impact of policy and politics on assessment across the globe. With contributions from England, the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Wales, it explores state-led assessment policies and practices that have been the subject of much debate.
We are experiencing a shift from using assessments — especially national tests — as measurement instruments designed to produce information, to a reliance on tests to influence policy and instruction. Once tests become high stakes — for students, teachers, and schools — even those that might have been reasonable monitors of educational success can lose dependability and credibility. However, not all countries’ assessment policies follow the same model and the contributors explore and analyse a range of different national (and supra-national) assessment policy approaches and perspectives. The chapters identify the impetus behind changing assessment policies and practices and analyse ways forward and innovative approaches. Readers can draw their own conclusions about which model(s) can provide the best outcomes for learners – surely the most important part of the equation.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice.
Table of Contents
Introduction – International assessment policy reform: nothing new under the sun
Tina Isaacs and Iasonas Lamprianou
1. Is the English Baccalaureate a passport to future success?
Emma Armitage and Caroline Lau
2. National assessment policy reform 14–16 and its consequences for young people: student views and experiences of GCSE reform in Northern Ireland and Wales
Rhian Barrance and Jannette Elwood
3. Towards a national assessment policy in Switzerland: Areas of conflict in the use of assessment instruments
Flavian Imlig and Susanne Ender
4. Teacher Evaluation as a Wicked Policy Problem
Sølvi Lillejord, Eyvind Elstad and Håkon Kavli
5. The development of assessment policy in Ireland: a story of junior cycle reform
Ann MacPhail, John Halbert and Hal O’Neill
6. Ambitious and Ambiguous: Shifting Purposes of National Testing in the Legitimation of Assessment Policies in Norway and Sweden (2000–2017)
Tina Isaacs is an Honorary Associate Professor of Educational Assessment at the UCL Institute of Education, UK. She specialises in assessment policy and politics and has written extensively about assessment policy in England and the US, as well as about culture and controversy in international examinations standards and comparative curriculum and assessment.
Iasonas Lamprianou is an Assistant Professor of Quantitative Methods at the Department of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cyprus. In addition to his methodological interests, he specialises in high-stakes, large-scale assessments and investigates their footprint on the social and political fabric of local societies.