Key Concepts in Educational Assessment


Tina Isaacs, Catherine Zara, Graham Herbert, Steven J. Coombs & Charles Smith

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    The SAGE Key Concepts series provides students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension.


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    About the Authors

    Tina Isaacs is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Education, University of London and is Programme Leader for the MA in Educational Assessment. Prior to joining the Institute, she spent 15 years working for the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ), the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), where she was the Head of 14-19 Regulation.

    Catherine Zara has a wide range of experience in the fields of lifelong learning and workforce development, and in the assessment and evaluation of vocational, professional and occupational learning. Most recently she was Director of the MA in Educational Assessment and Director of the BA (Hons) in Post Compulsory Education and Training at the University of Warwick.

    Graham Herbert became the Deputy Head of the CIEA prior to its launch in 2006. He has been responsible for a large portfolio of programmes, in particular the development of the Chartered Educational Assessor (CEA) programme, developing the postgraduate diploma in educational assessment and supporting the development of Masters degrees. Prior to that, he was a teacher and senior examiner for both general and vocational examinations.

    Steven J. Coombs has been the Head of the CPD department at Bath Spa University (BSU) since 2002. From August 2000 until August 2002, Steve worked as Professor of Educational Technology at Sonoma State University, California, where he was involved in developing an educational technology research project as part of a large US initiative. Prior to that Steve was appointed for three years as Professor of Instructional Technology at the National Institute of Education in Singapore.

    Charles Smith is senior lecturer in economics and education at Swansea Metropolitan, University of Wales Trinity St David. He has taught in the secondary, further education and university sectors, and has served as a primary school governor. As a senior examiner and consultant with several awarding bodies, he has been involved in all major reforms in the UK assessment system since the mid-1980s, and has led staff development in learning, teaching and assessment in a wide range of countries.


    Because assessment is now central to much of what we do, educationalists are regularly exposed to key assessment terms. So terms such as valid, reliable, assessment for learning and assessment of learning (sometimes referred to as formative assessment and summative assessment respectively) and feedback are widely used - yet not always defined. This may lead to confusion when we talk as if we mean the same thing while having different interpretations of the terms. Key Concepts in Educational Assessment is therefore a valuable and timely resource that provides clear definitions and explanations of significant assessment terms. In doing this it offers a wealth of examples from familiar assessment contexts to illustrate these meanings. This will be welcomed by students, teachers and lecturers at a time when, given the ever-widening role of assessment and the many changes in what is assessed, ‘assessment literacy’ has never been more important. I congratulate the authors in recognising the need for such a publication and for producing such an accessible and useful glossary.

    GordonStobartEmeritus Professor of Education, Institute of Education, University of London
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