Keynote speech

(Re)designing assessment in higher education – building confidence in new practice 

Keynote speaker: Dr Mary Richardson , UCL Institute of Education, London

Dr Mary RichardsonThe past year has reframed many ways of thinking and being, not only in our personal lives but also in our work, and particularly within our approaches to education.  Globally, educators in all phases of education have been faced with dramatic changes to policy and practice. We have all made adaptations quickly – some of these changes have worked well, others perhaps not so well.  Amongst the tragedy and stress of the global pandemic are opportunities – glimmers of light that might suggest other, improved ways to do what we do as educators. 

I intend to argue that within Higher Education settings, accepting the idea of change to our practice is critical. It is often challenging and it is uncomfortable to change what we do, but moving into online spaces at a faster pace than we might have expected brings with it untapped alternatives to the norm. We might find many of these actually improve what we do. 

I will consider what the future might look like in assessment within HE settings and also discuss the broader contexts of how assessment is trusted because recent months have revealed public discourses that question the validity of assessment. These ‘conversations’ are not always fair, they demonstrate a lack of understanding of the practice of assessment.  Such discourses also signal just how general views of assessment are focused on testing and qualifications without acknowledging the value of assessment as a key part of contemporary teaching and learning practice.   

Mary is an Associate Professor of Education (Assessment) at UCL Institute of Education. Mary runs an MA in Educational Assessment and supervises doctoral candidates researching assessment, ethics and citizenship.
Currently, she is Principal Investigator for the research strand of the TIMSS2019 project for England and has recently started a funded three-year research project investigating the user-experience of AI tests of English language. She has led large-scale research projects both internationally, most recently in Georgia (UNICEF and OCED), with the government of Kazakhstan and with partners across the European Union. Her employment outside of academia includes: research in examinations for AQA, the Dept of Education in England, education for campaigning NGOs and practitioner support in schools from pre-school through to post 16.
Her research interests include assessment, ethics of testing and citizenship she is currently writing a book about trust in educational assessment. Mary sits on the Councils of the Assessment and Evaluation Association (Europe) and the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.

Page manager Published: Mon 15 Feb 2021.