chapter  7
20 Pages

Assessment, Testing and Examinations

WithBill Marsden

Assessment in education 'is the process of gathering, interpreting, recording and using information about pupils' responses to an educational task'. There would be general agreement that the National Curriculum is assessment-led. The official Task Group on Assessment and Testing (TGAT) did not, however, subscribe to the extreme demands of the league table adherents. As TGAT rightly asserted, a prime distinction is that between what have been termed summative and formative assessment procedures. Assessment procedures remain in many circumstances a stimulus to effort on the part of both pupils and teachers, and thereby a means of raising standards. A key test of an examination which reflects good assessment practice is that it will not reward pupils who merely learn and regurgitate notes. Properly implemented, external as well as internal testing and examinations should be reconcilable with the broad aims of education, and play something more than a narrowly instrumental role.