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Researching impact in an educational assessment context

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Assessments form part of complex systems and have expected and unexpected consequences, including exerting powerful influences on the individual and on educational systems and society. Following Messick (1989), researching such consequences is fundamental to test validation and allows for positive and negative impacts to be identified, maximising the sustainability of education and assessment programmes.

Introducing language assessments as part of educational reform is increasingly frequent and two common themes emerge: the desire to increase learner language proficiency (e.g. learners should reach level X by a certain educational stage), and the desire to increase the number of language learners. When learning and assessment are closely integrated these two goals are more likely to be achieved as the learning environment is both positive and motivational. This presentation discusses this complex relationship, Cambridge ESOL ’s approach to researching impact and the concept of ‘Impact by design’.

This talk is part of the Perspectives from Cambridge Assessment series.

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