As noted by Black (2001), ‘reformers dreaming about changing the education system for the better almost always see a need to include assessment and testing in their plans and frequently see them as the main instruments of their reforms’ (p. 80). However, one of the main problems is that assessment is about several things at once. It is about grading and about learning (Carless, 2007). This causes major problems for teachers whereby they might value innovative assessment ideas but in practice what they do is far more limited (James and Pedder, 2006). Assessment can take many forms and is certainly much wider than tradi-
tional forms of objective tests and essay tests. We should never forget that assessment can have a dramatic eﬀect on the lives of students (Cunningham 1998). Wherever possible, forms of assessment should be used that raise student’s self-esteem – learning experiences are needed which enable students to create success criteria and to organize their individual targets (Clarke, 2001). There are signiﬁcant and deep-rooted diﬀerences in the assessment systems
of diﬀerent countries. Black and Wiliam’s (2005) survey of England, France, Germany and the USA provides some fascinating diﬀerences:
England: there has been a deep distrust of teachers; many new formal tests have been initiated; there is some school-based assessment.