A Critical Realist Approach to Pupil Assessment
In an increasingly more global society there are several arguments for looking at international and not the least national trends in pupil assessment. Firstly, there has been increasing attention about comparable levels of national performance in PISA tests. Secondly, looking at the experiences of other countries gives an indication of experiences, both positive and negative with new forms of assessment.
How should international trends in pupil assessment be conceptualised, if the desire is to avoid for the moment the temptation of looking for national and historical peculiarities, that might potentially upset the validity of and dominance of such trends?
Despite the strength of the assumption that assessment can be a form of positivist measurement, this book will explore if and how such forms of assessment might actually test critical thinking. This is a distinctly human attribute with the potential of transcending the view that psychometric testing is only suitable for the testing of motor skills.
It can be noted that even though there is no single once and for all list of international trends that exert a dominant influence upon assessment practices in different countries, there are certain debates and challenges faced by policy makers and assessment practitioners alike:
selection vs. certification
applying assessment criteria vs. holistic judgments
technologically mediated assessment vs. non-technology mediated face-to-face assessment
assessment for, of and as assessment
assessment principles vs. a more pragmatic approach to assessment practices
As we have suggested in the desire to be more accurate the pursuit of different forms of assessment risk searching for the pupil's knowledge, skills and attitudes as if they were in some way intransitives