Prospective Report on the Future of Assessment in Primary and Secondary Education

There are numerous ongoing social, economic, pedagogical and technological developments that bring changes to the way we learn and to the functioning of our education systems, including assessment processes. These developments act as constant stimuli to adapt and adjust across the world, including Europe. The objective of this study was to investigate and develop an informed view on how recent and ongoing trends and developments in pedagogy, assessment methods, practices and policies, technology, societal, cultural and socio-economic conditions may influence the evolution and potential transformation of assessment of learning outcomes in primary and secondary education by 2030. The study examined the role of external drivers and trends, incentives created by international and national assessment programmes, as well as country-level factors such as the incentive structure of national education systems and schools which may shape the development of future assessment policies. Overall, the project explored how assessment of learning outcomes in primary and secondary education will potentially look like in ten years time, in light of the relevant developments and their probable impact on education and assessment in Europe.

PPMI researchers, together with key thematic experts on assessment in Europe, designed and implemented a rigorous methodological approach involving the following steps in order to achieve this objective and address the scope of the poject to the fullest:

  • The PPMI research team conducted a systematic literature review, based on the Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) method. After the screening of the results of the systematic search, 65 academic articles and studies, as well as 20 relevant comparative policy studies of various international organisations were selected, coded with the help of NVivo softwareand sythesised to support the following activities of the project.
  • We carried out a trend impact / drivers analysis in order to identify the major forces, which have the potential to drive developments in future education and assessment policy and practice. This method examined the nature, potential impact and likelihood of events relevant to the evolution of assessment in primary and secondary education.
  • The strategic foresight aimed to identify how the most influential trends (and their interrelation) may shape the development of assessment of learning outcomes and build a probable scenario for the future of assessment in primary and secondary education. The strategic foresight exercise included the combination of two methods. The SWOT analysis analysed the opportunities and threats of the identified trends, and highlighted important factors for the interrelation and potential influence of the most relevant trends. The Delphi survey aimed to collect expert opinions on how assessment will evolve in the future, by engaging relevant stakeholders. The two rounds of the survey resulted in a synthesised view on the possible future of classroom assessment based on experts' and praticioners' views and opinions. As a final step of the strategic foresight, the research team developed a probable scenario for the future of assessment of learning outcomes (by 2030).
  • An online expert panel was organised in order to validate the findings of the strategic foresight and fine-tune the recommendations for further actions at the EU and national level. The expert panel involved the study team and a number of external experts prominent in the field of assessment in compulsory education.

The study provided a probable scenario for the future of assessment of learning outcomes in priary and secondary education by 2030, based on the mosr relevant recent and ongoing trends, as well as recommendations for actions at national and EU level, which support reaching that scenario. The results of the study also reflected on how such changes will impact evidence-based policy developments in education. The study supported the European Commission in stimulating a debate at European level and generate new, forward-looking policy ideas to support future learning and reflections at European level on the medium-term evolutions of primary and secondary education. In the context of the ‘Future of Learning’ agenda, and as the Europe 2020 Strategy and the ET 2020 Strategic Framework are coming to an end, this study supported the Commission in providing Member States with possible avenues for future policy developments in the area of educational assessment.

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