“We are on the verge of big changes in assessment”, says new report by education experts

“We are on the verge of big changes in assessment”, says new report by education experts

Top performing countries have hit a ‘performance ceiling’ according to a new report released today.

‘Preparing for a Renaissance in Assessment’, published today by the world’s largest learning company Pearson, and written by Pearson’s Chief Education Advisor, Sir Michael Barber and renowned assessment expert, Dr Peter Hill, says that new technologies will transform assessment and testing in education.

According to the authors:

  • Adaptive testing (for example, tests that evolve in real time on screen) will help generate more accurate tests and reduce the amount of time schools spend on testing
  • Smarter, automated marking of exams will help improve accuracy and reduce the time teachers spend marking “rote” answers
  • Technology will help combine student performance across multiple papers and subjects.
  • Assessment will provide on-going feedback, which, will help personalise teaching and improve learning.
  • New digital technologies will minimise opportunities for cheating in exams or “gaming the system”.

The report argues that current assessment methods are no longer working, so that even the top performing education systems in the world, have hit a performance ceiling.

It concludes that governments, schools and those within them need to prepare themselves for this assessment renaissance.

Pearson expects governments and educators in the Arab world to take interest in the report, given the region’s willingness to embrace new technologies to drive improved outcomes for learners.

Mr Karim Daoud, Managing Director of Pearson in the Middle East said:

“This region has been one of the fastest in the world to embrace new digital innovations in the education field and ensure that these innovations are used to promote a student’s uptake of skills and knowledge.

Government agencies, in their pursuit of realising the goals set out in their countries’ national visions, have looked to the latest thinking and developments in education to help build robust, knowledge-driven economies and societies.

This report demonstrates how technology can be harnessed to meet these goals by optimising the assessment process. It also provides a Framework for Action, showing the region’s educators and policy makers how student performance can be more accurately and meaningfully assessed and how tracking student outcomes can be done more efficiently and precisely”.

Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor at Pearson and co-author of the report said:

“We are about to see big changes in the possibilities of assessment as a result of technology. Current assessment systems around the world are deeply wedded to traditional testing and exams and, some might argue, are holding us back from potential reforms. We should seize the opportunity and not cling to the past.

“By using technology smartly, better assessment could improve teachers’ teaching, by giving them richer data. The biggest change created by the forthcoming assessment renaissance could be a vast improvement in teaching and therefore a big improvement in learner outcomes.”

Dr Peter Hill, assessment expert and co-author of the report said:

“This renaissance will bring about a ‘rebirth’ of the core purposes of assessment that will lead to a much better alignment with the curriculum and with teaching and learning.

“Assessment is only one aspect of education but it is often one of the most influential and controversial and we believe that the transformation we want to see across education will be held up unless we release the power of assessment to bring about improvements in learning.”

 

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