The Sociology of Assessment: Comparative and Policy Perspectives : The Selected Works of Patricia Broadfoot book cover
1st Edition

The Sociology of Assessment: Comparative and Policy Perspectives
The Selected Works of Patricia Broadfoot

ISBN 9780367616724
Published January 9, 2023 by Routledge
370 Pages

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Book Description

In the World Library of Educationalists series, international experts themselves compile career-long collections of what they judge to be their finest pieces – extracts from books, key articles, salient research findings, major theoretical and practical contributions – so the world can read them in a single manageable volume. Readers will be able to follow the themes and strands and see how their work contributes to the development of the field.

In a collection of her most influential work spanning nearly four decades, Patricia Broadfoot applies her trademark sociological and comparative perspective to empirical studies at every level of the educational system. From her classic long-term study of the impact of changing national assessment policies on pupils and teachers in the classrooms of England and France to her sustained championship of the need for a better understanding of the impact of assessment on learning, Broadfoot has consistently championed the need for a more developed sociological understanding of assessment. Broadfoot’s accessible writing offers insights that are as novel as they are important for the education of future generations.

This book allows readers to follow themes and strands across Patricia Broadfoot’s career and will be of interest to all followers of her work and any reader interested in the development of teaching, learning and assessment.

Table of Contents


Professor Stephen Ball FRSA, FBA, FAcSS



Part 1

The rationality of judgement: understanding educational assessment sociologically.

1. Competence, competition, content and control: how assessment mediates the relationship between education and society.

Broadfoot, P ‘Education, Assessment and Society.’ Open University Press, Bedford. Chapters 4 and 5 pp 66 - 121

2. Selection, certification and control: meritocracy or social reproduction?

Broadfoot, P (1979) ‘Assessment, schools and society’ London: Methuen. Chapter 4 pp 84-102 Part 2

Part 2

Insights from comparing national education systems: empirical studies of differences in the impact of assessment for system control on teachers and pupils

3.Towards a focus on learning and culture: time for a new approach to comparative education’?

Broadfoot P. (2000) ‘Comparative Education for the 21st Century: Retrospect and Prospect’ Comparative Education vol 36 no 3 pp 358 – 371

4. New forms of system control: the power of assessment as a tool for accountability and legitimation.

Broadfoot, P. ‘Changing patterns of educational accountability in England and France’, in Crossley M; Broadfoot P; and Schweisfurth, M; (eds) (2007) Changing Educational Contexts, Issues and Identities:40 years of Comparative Education Routledge, London. Reprinted from Comparative Education, (1985) Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 273-286.

5. Using the comparative approach to understand teachers’ priorities: the ‘Bristaix study of English and French education.

Broadfoot, P; Osborn, M; with Gilly, M. and Paillet, A: (1988) ‘What Professional Responsibility Means to Teachers: national contexts and classroom constants’, in British Journal of Sociology of Education Vol. 9, No .3, pp. 265-287.

6. Values, understanding and power: mapping the impact of assessment policy changes on teachers’ practice through the PACE project.

Pollard, A; Broadfoot, P, Croll, P, Osborn M. and. Abbott, D. (1994) Changing English Primary Schools? The Impact of the Education Reform Act at Key Stage One. London: Cassell. Chapter 13 pp 227-24

7. Comparing influences on pupil achievement? Insights from the QUEST project.

Broadfoot, P. (1999) ‘Comparative Research on Pupil Achievement: in Search of Validity, Reliability and Utility’ in Broadfoot, P; Alexander, R. and Phillips, D.(eds) Learning from Comparing: new directions in comparative educational research Vol One: Contexts, Classrooms and Outcomes Symposium Books, Oxford pp 237-260

8. Culture, context and policy: new perspectives on learning from the ENCOMPASS study of pupils in England, France and Denmark.

Osborn, M; Broadfoot, P; McNess, E; Planel, C; Ravn, B; and Triggs, P; (2003) ‘A world of Difference? Comparing learners across Europe’ Open University Press, Maidenhead. Chapter 10. pp 205-225.

Part 3

Assessment as a policy tool

9. Performativity versus empowerment: how the ‘assessment society’ is inhibiting the advent of a ‘learning society’.

Broadfoot, P. (1998) ‘Quality, Standards and Control in Higher Education: What Price Life-Long Learning?’ in International Studies in Sociology of Education, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp155 -180

10. Assessment as a social technology: the socio-cultural origins and implications of the ‘standards’ agenda.

Broadfoot, P and Pollard, A; (2006) ‘The Changing Discourse of Assessment Policy: The Case Study of English Primary Education’ in Lauder, H., Brown P., Dillabough, J. and Halsey, A.H. (eds.,), Education, Globalisation and Social Change, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Extracted from: Broadfoot, P and Pollard, A (2000) ‘The Changing Discourse of Assessment Policy: The Case of English Primary Education’ in Filer, A (ed) Assessment: Social Practice and Social Product London, Falmer press.

Part 4

Anticipating the future: assessment for learning and the digital revolution.

11. Enter the ‘assessment society’: international trends and future challenges.

Broadfoot P and Black P (2004) ‘Redefining Assessment?’ The first ten years of Assessment in Education’ in Assessment in Education vol 11 No 1 March pp 7-29

12. Challenging the status quo: the potential of assessment for learning.

Broadfoot, P. (2007) An Introduction to Assessment London, Continuum Chapter 10. pp 109-13

13. Towards an Assessment Revolution? The potentially transforming potential of computer-based assessment.

Timmis, S; Broadfoot, P; Sutherland, R; and Oldfield, A; (2016) ‘Rethinking assessment in a digital age: opportunities, challenges and risks’ British Educational Research Journal vol 42, No 3, pp: 454–476.



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Dr Patricia Broadfoot is Professor Emeritus of Sociology of Education at the University of Bristol, UK. She is a former Head of the School of Education, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Bristol and was Vice Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, UK. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and was awarded the CBE for services to Social Science.