Fairness in educational assessment has become a major talking point and allegations that assessments are unfair are commonplace on social media and in the press. But what does fairness mean in practice and how can we evaluate it? This book offers a timely and necessary investigation, exploring the concept through the lenses of: measurement theory, social justice, the law and philosophy in order to put forward a template for fairness in educational assessment. Drawing on international examples from the UK, US, Australia and South East Asia, this book offers a commentary on fairness that is highly relevant to the changing context of assessment today. This book will be of interest to anyone with a professional or academic interest in educational assessment, to education policymakers and to all who are working to make assessment fair.

Fair assessment viewed through the lenses of philosophy

Fair assessment viewed through the lenses of philosophy

Fair assessment viewed through the lenses of philosophy

‘A philosopher should be concerned about definitions in the way that a historian is concerned about putting dates in the right order.’ (Priest, 2005, p. 154)

‘Those with similar abilities and skills should have similar life chances.’ (Rawls, 1971, p. 17)

‘What the average Socialist really means when he speaks of “fair shares for all” is equal shares for all – equal shares for those who toil and those who shirk.’ (Winston Churchill, 14 February 1950)1


As we have seen, disputes about fair assessment arouse strong feelings, and in some countries have gone to the highest courts. If we feel that we have been treated unfairly, we may feel wronged in ...

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