Synergies for Better Learning

An International Perspective on Evaluation and Assessment

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How can assessment and evaluation policies work together more effectively to improve student outcomes in primary and secondary schools? Countries increasingly use a range of techniques for student assessment, teacher appraisal, school evaluation, school leader appraisal and education system evaluation. However, they often face difficulties in implementing evaluation and assessment policies. This may arise as a result of poor policy design, lack of analysis of unintended consequences, little capacity for school agents to put evaluation procedures into practice, lack of an evaluation culture, or deficient use of evaluation results.

This report provides an international comparative analysis and policy advice to countries on how evaluation and assessment arrangements can be embedded within a consistent framework to improve the quality, equity and efficiency of school education. It builds upon a major 3-year review of evaluation and assessment policies in 28 countries, the OECD Review on Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks for Improving School Outcomes. As well as analysing strengths and weaknesses of different approaches, the report provides recommendations for improvement including how results should be incorporated into policy and practice.



There is widespread recognition that evaluation and assessment arrangements are key to both improvement and accountability in school systems. This is reflected in their increasing importance in national education agendas. As countries strive to transform their educational systems to prepare all young people with the knowledge and skills needed to function in rapidly changing societies, some common policy trends can be observed in one form or another in most OECD countries, including decentralisation, school autonomy, greater accountability for outcomes and a greater knowledge management capacity. Decentralisation and school autonomy are creating a greater need for the evaluation of schools, school leaders and teachers while greater IT capacity allows for the development and analysis of large-scale student assessments as well as individualised assessment approaches. Results from evaluation and assessment are becoming critical to knowing whether the school system is delivering good performance and to providing feedback for further development. Evaluation and assessment are instrumental in defining strategies for improving practices within school systems with the ultimate goal of enhancing student outcomes. These developments are having a strong influence in the way in which policy makers monitor system, school, school leader, teacher and student performance.


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