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Standards in national examinations: What do they mean?

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Duration: 0:49:21 | Added: 09 May 2017
Jo­ Anne Baird, Director of Department of  Education, University of Oxford and Dennis Opposs, Ofqual, give a seminar for the Department of Education public seminar series.

Processes of standard setting and maintaining within  curriculum­ related assessments form a key strand of educational assessment policies and programmes, and  debates about standards are often at the heart of  educational reform. Many countries use curriculum­ related examinations to select  learners for higher education, work and other study options.  Some countries also use these examinations as tools to  measure school system performance.

Given the high stakes nature of these examinations, it is  surprising that the ways in which examination standards are  conceptualised and operationalised differently across nations  has not been given sufficient attention. This is an interesting  area because globalisation has begun to impinge on  examination systems, but public examination standards are  still largely a bastion of the local. The meaning of standards  varies between countries and the stated value positions and  processes relating to examination standards differ markedly.  Additionally, the processes used to set examination standards  vary greatly between countries. The public seminar will present some of the findings from a  joint project on Setting and Maintaining standards in national  examinations. As part of the project, a three­ day symposium  was held in Brasenose College, Oxford in March of this year.  Experts from around the world came together to discuss the  setting and maintaining of standards in national  examinations. The project aims to illuminate similarities and  differences in conceptual bases and operational approaches to  examination standards. In this presentation, we will focus  upon the different ways in which examination standards have  been defined and outline current work on an ecological model  that shows promise in making the current literature more  coherent.

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