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Assessment as a social lever

The aim of this conference is to explore how assessment is used as a change agent to improve social justice and the quality of teaching and learning in education.

The worldwide growth of assessment systems has been driven by a social need for fairer opportunities. Testing has increasingly provided the social lever by which progress and selection are based on academic merit rather than patronage and connections.

For such assessment systems to be fair there must be equal opportunities within them. How far is this the case? Who is excluded, advantaged or disadvantaged by our current assessments?

Assessment is also viewed by policy makers as a direct way of improving schools curriculum offers by shaping what is taught and learned. For example, to meet the demands of 21st century skills assessment policies may lead to more curricular emphasis on Information Technology and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. What curriculum and teaching improvements have been achieved through assessment policies in these or other subject areas? What have been the unintended consequences?

Policy makers are increasingly using assessment data as an accountability tool to raise standards within the educational system. How successful has this been and what has been the impact on school leaders, teachers and students?

Within schools and classrooms day-to-day formative assessment is being used to improve the quality of learning needed in rapidly changing 21st century society. What has been the impact of this on student approaches to learning? How does it relate to current summative assessments?


This conference welcomes proposals that address the theme in the widest sense:

Validity, fairness and equal opportunities in assessment;

Reducing social biases through assessment;

The use of technology to increase access to fair testing;

Raising standards through high-stakes testing - the social and educational consequences;

Using assessment policy to reflect changing international and national curricular priorities;

The impact of testing on the curriculum and on approaches to learning;

The implications of using test data as the basis for accountability in an educational system;

The global agenda for 21st century learning and the role of formative and summative assessment in this;

Social policy towards vocational and occupational assessment and encouraging alternative qualifications.

National and International Assessment as Political Levers: the Black Sea Session


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