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.


Trends in evaluation and assessment

This chapter provides the context for analysing evaluation and assessment policy. First, it describes the main trends within educational evaluation. It is apparent that evaluation and assessment are increasingly being considered as levers of change guiding improvement, accountability, educational planning and policy development within school systems. Countries are developing more comprehensive evaluation and assessment frameworks, placing greater emphasis on educational measurement and indicators development, giving growing prominence to accountability uses of results, and relying increasingly on educational standards. Second, the chapter reviews the contextual factors shaping the development of evaluation and assessment in school systems. Evaluation and assessment have gained in importance as a result of greater levels of school devolution, a stronger role for market-type mechanisms in education, the emergence of New Public Management, the growing imperative of an efficient use of public resources, the need to focus on “quality for all” and the rising importance of education in a global world. Other contextual factors influencing the development of evaluation and assessment frameworks include the rising expectations of the professionalism of teachers, more educated parents, the movement to advance the use of evidence-based decision making, technological advancements, the emergent commercial interests in education and the role of the media.


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