(Re)designing assessment in higher
education – building confidence in new practice
Keynote speaker: Dr Mary Richardson
, UCL Institute of Education, London
The 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.
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.
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.
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
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.