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Cambridge Assessment Network: Assessment in support of learning

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What do people mean when they claim that summative assessment ‘damages learning’? And what are the recommendations of groups which champion greater reliance on Assessment for Learning? This seminar will look at some of the arguments which have been put on both sides of this debate. Is it possible to say that formative assessment regimes support learning better than summative? Or is there more to say about the positive effect of examinations and external assessments on learning?

Key topics

■What is learning? ■Lifelong learning ■Claims that summative assessment damages learning ■Assessment schemes that claim to support learning ■A place for summative assessment in learning

Speaker biography

Andrew Watts began his career as a teacher of English in England. After eleven years he moved to Singapore where he taught at a Junior College (for A level) for over four years. Andrew then worked for five and a half years in the Curriculum Planning Division of the Ministry of Education in Singapore, focusing on curriculum development in English teaching and in-service teacher development. In 1990 he returned to England and worked with Cambridge Assessment from the summer of 1992. For most of that time Andrew looked after teams that were developing national tests for 14-year-olds in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

As Director of the Cambridge Assessment Network from 2004 to January 2009, Andrew led the setting up of the Network, whose purpose is to promote online and face-to-face professional development opportunities for teachers and those who work in assessment.

Andrew now works freelance on a variety of education and assessment projects. He contributes regularly to assessment seminars, workshops, training courses and conferences both in the UK and internationally.

This talk is part of the Assessment Principles series.

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