Assessment of educational achievement, whether by traditional examinations or by teachers in schools, attracts considerable public interest, particularly when it is associated with ‘high stakes’ outcomes such as university entry or selection for employment. When the individual’s results do not chime with their or their teachers’ expectations, doubts creep in about the process of assessment that has arrived at this result.
However, educational assessment is made up of many layers of complexity, which are not always clear to the general public, including teachers, students, and parents, and which are not easily understood outside of the expert assessment community. These layers may be organized in highly co-dependent relationships that include reliability, validity, human judgment, and errors, and the uses and interpretations of the various types of assessment. No-one could reasonably argue that the principles and complexities of educational assessment should be core learning in public education, but there is a growing realization that trust in the UK assessment system is under some threat as the media and others sensationalize or politicize any problems that arise each year.
This book offers the first comprehensive overview of how the general public is considered to perceive and understand a wide variety of aspects of educational assessment, and how this understanding may be improved. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Oxford Review of Education.
Introduction John Gardner
1. Intelligent accountability in education Onora O’Neill
2. Perceptions of trust in public examinations Lucy Simpson and Jo-Anne Baird
3. Towards improving public understanding of judgement practice in standards-referenced assessment: an Australian perspective Val Klenowski
4. The public understanding of assessment in educational reform in the United States Susan M. Brookhart
5. The public understanding of error in educational assessment John Gardner
6. Ofqual’s Reliability Programme: a case study exploring the potential to improve public understanding and confidence Paul E. Newton
7. Communication strategies for enhancing qualification users’ understanding of educational assessment: recommendations from other public interest fields Suzanne Chamberlain
8. Misleading the public understanding of assessment: wilful or wrongful interpretation by government and media Warwick Mansell
9. Media roles in influencing the public understanding of educational assessment issues Roger Murphy