Testing the Water: LKMco and Pearson launching consultation on assessment

9th December 2016

Why are we running a consultation on assessment?

Assessment, testing and exams are perceived by teachers and parents alike to be one of the top issues facing the education sector. According to a survey conducted earlier this year for Pearson, teachers and school leaders feel assessment is the second most pressing concern facing education, behind workload. For parents, only funding cuts to schools is a bigger issue.

Pearson’s 2016 survey of teachers’ and parents’ attitudes towards assessment reveals widespread support for a cross-sector debate to address some of the challenges relating to testing and assessment. Pearson and LKMco therefore believe they have a role to play in facilitating this debate and helping find solutions. President of Pearson UK, Rod Bristow, explains more in this Schools Week article.

We are therefore launching an in-depth, consultation with teachers, school leaders, experts and parents to better understand concerns about assessment and to identify ways of addressing them.

We are using the questions below as a starting point but will refine them as our work progresses. You can read more, here. The questions draw on a longer stimulus paper prepared as the basis of this consultation by Professor Peter Hill, a leading expert in international assessment systems, and on Pearson’s 2016 survey.

The online consultation will run until May, and you can respond, here.

Where appropriate we will also explore what we can learn from other countries.

The goal is to set out potential ways forward that could improve assessment in England and beyond.

To find out more or get involved in the consultation visit our mini-site, respond online, or tweet @LKMco #TestingTheWater

What are the main issues we will be exploring?

You can view the full scope of the initial consultation here, and respond, here.

It will explore:

  • Attitudes towards assessment, asking:

a) Are teachers’ negative attitudes towards assessment inevitable, or could this change? If so, how?

b) Why do teachers and parents feel more negatively about some forms of assessment than others? What can we do about this?

c) What explains parents’ belief that their children are not adequately prepared for assessments and tests? How could this be improved?

d) What might be done in the longer term to resolve tensions between the validity, reliability and credibility of assessment?

  • The purpose of assessment, asking:

e) Could we redress the balance between assessment for learning, assessment for accountability and assessment for qualifications?

  • The practice of assessment, asking:

f) What should teachers’ role in assessment be?

g) How can we make assessment (particularly formative assessment) more efficient and effective? Can technology help?

h) Whose responsibility is innovation in assessment?