Key issues

For a comprehensive and detailed discussion of the examination and testing regime in England and its consequences see:

•   Mansell, W. (2007) Education by Numbers: The Tyranny of Testing, London: Politico Publishing.

Stobart provides an insightful analysis of the effects of a variety of tests and assessment practices:

•   Stobart, G. (2008) Testing Times: The Uses and Abuses of Assessment, Abingdon: Routledge. (Reading 13.6)

James’ comprehensive book covers many timeless assessment issues:

•   James, M. (1998) Using Assessment for School Improvement, Oxford: Heinemann.

An excellent overview of issues to do with equity and assessment, drawing on research from around the world, can be found in:

•   Gipps, C. and Murphy, P. (1994) A Fair Test? Assessment, Achievement, and Equity, Buckingham: Open University Press.

The Frith and Mackintosh textbook was published nearly 20 years ago but is a comprehensive guide to the technical aspects of testing and assessment.

•   Frith, D.S. and Macintosh, H.G. (1984) A Teacher’s Guide to Assessment, Cheltenham: Stanley Thornes.

Fairness and equity are important issues in assessment and are explored by Gipps and Murphy. Stobart and Gipps have a chapter on these aspects of assessment as well as addressing other important issues.

•   Gipps, C. and Murphy, P. (1994) A Fair Test? Buckingham: Open University Press.

•   Stobart, G. and Gipps, C. (1997) Assessment: A Teacher’s Guide to the Issues, London: Hodder and Stoughton.

The effects of testing on motivation and learning were the subject of a review undertaken by through the EPPI-Centre. The full review is available on and the Assessment Reform Group has published a readable summary in a booklet:

•   Assessment Reform Group (2002) Testing, Motivation and Learning, Cambridge: University of Cambridge Faculty of Education.

The relationship between assessment and learning in the classroom is re-examined by Dann. Theories of learning and assessment are explored within the context of national tests, and also through the theme of self-assessment.

•   Dann, R. (2002). Promoting Assessment as Learning, London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Theories of learning and particular models of assessment to which they lead are examined in a book edited by Murphy.

•   Murphy, P. (ed) (1998) Learners, Learning and Assessment, London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
•   Pollard, A. and Filer, A. (2000) The Social World of Pupil Assessment: Processes and Contexts of Primary Schooling. Continuum: London. (Reading 14.7)