TLRP’s main aim to improve outcomes for all learners in all contexts raised questions about how the wide range of valued outcomes might be appropriately assessed to contribute to effective learning and teaching processes. TLRP’s pedagogic principle 5 stated that assessment needed to be congruent with learning.
Some of the key challenges for TLRP projects were expressed in a special issue of The Curriculum Journal on learning outcomes published in 2005 Challenges relating to construct definition and the creation and implementation of valid assessment procedures were explored further in a thematic seminar series entitled, Assessment of Significant Learning Outcomes. This thematic initiative examined the issues in a selection of different contexts (schools, vocational education, higher education and workplace learning). It also linked the work of TLRP to that of the Assessment Reform Group with which it shared some membership. For both groups the tensions between formative and summative purposes of assessment were a concern (see TLRP Assessment commentary (2009)).
Assessment was a cross-programme issue and all projects engaged with it. Many noted the constraining effect of reductive assessment systems and the importance of positive experiences of assessment for the development of learner identities. This was a dominant theme in the work of Pollard and Filer, Rainbird and colleagues and Williams and colleagues..
Among schools projects, a number investigated assessment as a central focus. Millar and colleagues have researched the benefits of diagnostic questions. They also influenced the development of the new 21st Century Science GCSE which melded together content and assessment in a coherent way. James and colleagues have investigated the problems and possibilities of expanding and scaling up assessment for learning practices for the purpose of promoting learning to learn within and across schools. Leitch and colleagues researched the legal, moral and practical implications of consulting pupils on the assessment of their learning.
Publications related to the general theme of assessment are listed below: