“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.
Dubai, UAE, 24 December 2014: ‘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 helppersonalise 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.
MrKarimDaoud, 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.”
ENDS
Notes to Editors:
1.     Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries working to help people of all ages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning. www.pearson.com
2.     Sir Michael Barber joined Pearson in September 2011 as Chief Education Advisor, leading Pearson’s worldwide programme of efficacy and research. He plays a particular role in Pearson’s strategy for education in the developing world, and is Chairman of the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund. Prior to Pearson, he was a Partner at McKinsey & Company and Head of McKinsey’s global education practice. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter and the University of Wales.
He previously served the UK government as Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (from 2001-2005) and as Chief Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education on School Standards (from 1997-2001). Before joining government he was a professor at the Institute of Education at the University of London. He is the author of several books including Instruction to Deliver; Deliverology 101; The Learning Game: Arguments for an Education Revolution and The Making of the 1944 Education Act.
3.     Dr Peter Hill has held senior positions in education in Australia, the USA and Hong Kong, including as Chief Executive of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Board, Chief General Manager of the Department of School Education in Victoria, Australia, Professor of Leadership and Management at the University of Melbourne, Director of Research and Development at the National Center on Education and the Economy in Washington DC, Secretary General of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority and Chief Executive of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

He is currently a consultant advising on system reform in the areas of curriculum, assessment and certification. He has published numerous research articles and co-authored with Michael Fullan and Carmel Crévola the award-winning book, Breakthrough, published by Corwin Press.

Pearson to develop PISA 2018 Student Assessment 21st Century Frameworks for OECD.

Dubai, UAE, 15 December 2014: Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, today announces that it has won a competitive tender by the Organisationfor Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)to develop the Frameworksfor PISA 2018.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)is widely recognized as the benchmark for evaluating education systems worldwide by assessing the skills and knowledge 15-year-old students will need in their further academic education or for joining the workforce. 
PISA is administered every three years inaround 70 participating economies world-wide. Representative national samples of 15-year-olds from these countries took the PISA 2012 test totaling about 510 000 students and representing about 28 million 15-year-olds globally. Similar, if not higher, numbers are expected for PISA 2015 and PISA 2018. From 2015 onward most students will take PISA by computer.
The frameworksdefinewhat will be measured in PISA 2018, how this will be reported and which approach will be chosen for the development of tests and questionnaires.  The main tasks will be to:
·        Redefine reading literacy, taking into account how young people are taught to approach the digital environment including how to recognise credible websites and online documents.
·        Review and where necessary adapt the frameworks for mathematics and science.
·        Develop the student questionnaire framework for the collection of contextual information and the measurement of other education outcomes which may have connections with performance
·        Develop a framework for the measurement of global competence which will assess students’ awareness of the interconnected global world we live and work in and their ability to deal effectively with the resulting demands.
Pearson’s chief executive John Fallon said:
“High quality education is vital to a nation’s economic development and social well-being – and PISA is a key tool by which nations can measure their own educational progress and learn from each other.
“We are developing global benchmarks that, by assessing a wider range of skills, willhelp more young people toprosper in the global economy.  We are very pleased to be supporting the OECD and academic colleagues in this crucial work.”
Head of the PISA programme at the OECD Andreas Schleicher said:
“PISA 2018 has the potential to be the start of a new phase of our international assessments. We can now make much smarter use of technology in how we test young people, and we need global competence as governments around the world seek to equip young people with the skills they need for life and employment.”
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Notes to editors
1.      The OECD’s PISA test (www.pisa.oecd.org) is widely recognized as the benchmark for measuring the improvement of education systems worldwide. Between 65 and 74 countries/economies participated in previous cycles of PISA which is run every three years, since 2000.  Representative samples of students are selected at age 15 in each country in order to provide consistency across borders and regions.
The Organization of Economic Co-Operation and Development (www.oecd.org) exist to promote policies that improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.
2.      Pearson (www.pearson.com) is the world’s leading learning company, providing educational materials, technologies, assessments and related services to teachers and students of all ages.  From pre-school to higher education and professional education, our curriculum materials, digital learning tools and testing programmes help to educate more than 100 million people worldwide. In addition Pearson provides consultancy services to governments to help them improve their educational systems.
Together with the OECD, Pearson has formed international panels of experts in reading, math’s  and science,global competenceand survey design to define and understand what students should be equipped with towards the end of compulsory education in order to deal with the world of work and further education in the 21st century. Pearson had also been granted the framework development for next year’s PISA 2015 for which they elaborated a new interactive approach to understanding and working with science and addressed students’ abilities and strategies to work collaboratively on solving problems.

3.      For further information, please contact: Pippa Vaux, Director of Media Relations, Pearson pippa.vaux@pearson.com.