Westminster Education Forum

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The future of assessment in England’s schools - lessons from the 2023 exam season | return to pre-pandemic arrangements | tech and the role of AI | future of GCSEs | inclusivity and accessibility | accountability and regulation

December 2023

Price: £150 PLUS VAT

This conference looked at the future of assessment in England’s schools. It followed the return to pre-pandemic assessment arrangements earlier this year.

Key stakeholders and policymakers considered what has been learned from the 2023 exam season, exploring pandemic recovery strategies and the impact on student outcomes of grade protection removal.

Further sessions looked at the role of digital assessment moving forward, with the rising prominence of AI and increased interest in onscreen assessment options.

The conference was also an opportunity to discuss key issues raised in the House of Lords Education for 11-16 Year Olds Committee call for evidence, assessing how well the secondary education system in England is equipping young people with the skills needed for the job opportunities available in a digital and green economy.

We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with: Lord Knight of Weymouth, Member, Education for 11-16 Year Olds Committee, House of Lords; Mary Curnock Cook, Chair, Dyson Institute and Pearson Education; Jill Duffy, Chief Executive, OCR; and Alec Titterton, Content Director, ComputerBasedMath.org; and Member, Wolfram Community.

Further sessions assessed the efficacy of GCSEs and the future of high-stakes, formative and summative assessment across the education sector.

Delegates also examined the future role of AI and digital assessment in England’s assessment system, alongside its use and misuse by students, evaluating the risks and benefits of remote invigilation, the use of adaptive testing, and identifying potential bias in written tests, as well as latest thinking on opportunities for easing teacher workload.

The agenda also looked at latest developments in assistive technology and the potential of artificial intelligence in improving student outcomes, including support for vulnerable and disadvantaged students.

Overall, areas for discussion included:

  • return to pre-pandemic arrangements: taking forward what has been learned so far for exams and assessment - identifying weak spots and improving system agility - grade protection
  • the future of assessment: formative and summative approaches - teacher autonomy and responsibility in high-stake assessments - supporting student progression and development
  • accessibility: improving inclusivity in existing assessment forms - strategies for future reform to promote equitable approaches within the assessment system
  • GCSEs: exploring their effectiveness in assessing student achievement - alternative assessment options at 16, either alongside or in place of GCSEs
  • use of technology in assessment: assistive technologies and improving inclusivity - issues and opportunities for remote and digital assessment and invigilation
  • the role of AI: implications of developments and use of artificial intelligence - opportunities for adaptive assessment - protecting the integrity of exams and preventing malpractice
  • policy: the future for long-term qualifications policy, regulation and strategy

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the CMA; DBT; DESNZ; DfE; GLD; Ofqual; and the UKSA - as well as with parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Lords.

This on-demand pack includes

  • A full video recording of the conference as it took place, with all presentations, Q&A sessions, and remarks from chairs
  • An automated transcript of the conference
  • Copies of the slides used to accompany speaker presentations (subject to permission
  • Access to on-the-day materials, including speaker biographies, attendee lists and the agenda