Assessment has become one of the most significant areas of interest in educational policy development, as well as the focus of complex political, economic and cultural expectations for change. Increasingly, governments worldwide have become aware that curricula and teachers can be indirectly controlled through programmes of assessment. Opponents of centralized systems of mass assessment claim they are ill-suited to the diverse and changing needs of learners and users of assessment. In this text, the UK and US writers take the reader beyond the obvious functions of assessment, and focus upon the roles it performs in the social structuring of society. They examine the myths and assumptions that underpin assessment and testing and draw attention to its cultural context. This collection is devoted explicitly to socio-cultural studies of assessment and attempts to map the terrain of some 30 years of study in the field. Chapters are organized thematically, with background text providing comparative perspectives, key issues and further reading. The book provides a wide-ranging, structured and accessible approach to the study of socio-cultural origins and impacts of assessment.