Morrison’s chapter traces a number of similar trends in assessment across countries as geographically widespread as the USA, UK and New Zealand, and as culturally disparate as Germany, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia. Based on the increasing importance being placed on assessment, its practice and purposes, he puts forward an international agenda for debate in the field.*


Nearly two decades ago Dore (1976) remarked on the increasing credentialist spiral which was gripping nations across the world. He observed the systematic sacrifice of creativity, curiosity and the development of the whole person to a ritualistic, tedious, anti-educational reduction of education to mere qualification-earning. The scene has changed little since then: not only has the significance of assessment risen on the international scene but the anxieties voiced by Dore seem not to have been heeded. The message of this paper reaffirms Dore’s concern and argues that, though there is a uniformity of concern about and practices in assessment across nations, there is considerable room for diversity to be introduced. Further, this diversity will enable assessment to become more differentiated and thereby redress the problems of validity and reliability in assessments which appear to be increasing on an international level. Diversity in assessment provides an agenda for developing assessment which can replace Dore’s stark pessimism with an optimism of opportunity.