Challenges of assessment reform

Challenges of assessment reform

150 educationalists gathered at the 5th Cambridge Assessment conference - hosted by the Cambridge Assessment Network - at Robinson College on 21 October 2010 to debate the practical consequences of assessment reform. 

Assessment is one of the most powerful instruments we have available for achieving improved educational outcomes. However, it needs to be grounded firmly in the education that it is designed to support, and the practical issues that are a central part of successfully delivering change need to be carefully identified and worked through.

In his opening remarks at the conference, Group Chief Executive Simon Lebus commented: “’Communities of interest’, made up of schools, HE and awarding bodies, will maintain standards and protect us from some of the damaging effects of the constant [Government] change that is so corrosive to the integrity of our national assessment system.”

Simon Lebus also called for:

  • Further collaboration between HE and awarding bodies to ensure that A levels continue to offer adequate preparation for undergraduate study;
  • Politicians to stand aside and let assessment experts carry out full trials of any changes before they are implemented;
  • Ofqual to manage the regulatory cycle so to promote stability rather than entrench an expectation of automatic change.

Simon also issued a word of caution over the possible introduction of an English Bac.  

The conference also featured a keynote presentation by Professor Paul Black, from King’s College London, on the effective integration of pedagogy, learning and assessment, as the foundation for successful assessment reform.

A panel discussion chaired by Mike Baker, former BBC Education Editor, with Dr Mary Bousted from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Isabel Nisbet from Ofqual, Professor Richard Daugherty from Cardiff University and Lord Sutherland of Houndwood, can be viewed below.

View the podcasts from this event.

Related materials

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Research Matters is our free biannual publication which allows us to share our assessment research, in a range of fields, with the wider assessment community.