Jo-Anne Baird | Standard setting in national examinations: what are exam standards?
From Nelly Iacobescu
Standard setting in national examinations: what are exam standards?
Over the past twenty years, a research literature has developed in England that has theorised the meaning of national examination standards in a manner that is distinctive from that in the broader literature on educational and psychological testing. The scientific basis of testing rests upon psychometrics, which have been termed modern test theory. Authors working in England, such as Baird, Cresswell, Goldstein, Newton and Wiliam have posed various theoretical positions that depart from the traditional psychometric approach, though others (e.g. Coe) have firmly argued for its superiority as a lens through which to view what educational outcome standards mean. Another set of literature has arisen in the field of educational policy, championed by writers from the University of Edinburgh such as Grek, Ozga, Raffe and Lawn. They position psychometrics as a technocracy; a critique that can be extended to assessment practice more broadly.
This seminar will give an overview of these different literatures and a current project being conducted with over a dozen examination boards internationally, which is co-led by Lena Gray (AQA), Tina Isaacs (UCL Institute of Education) and Dennis Opposs (Ofqual). A study published in 2016 (Baird and Gray) contrasted the meaning of national school leaving examinations in England and Scotland and this will be used to illustrate the different ways in which standards are conceptualized, the state of current theory and a way of reconsidering theory in this area will be presented.
About the speaker
Professor Jo-Anne Baird is Director of the Department of Education at the University of Oxford. Before her appointment to this position Jo-Anne was Director of the Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA) and, prior to that, Professor of Education and Coordinator of the Centre for Assessment and Learning Studies at the University of Bristol.
Jo-Anne previously held the position of Head of Research at the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, where she managed the research programme and was responsible for the standard-setting systems for public examinations. She was also a Lecturer at the Institute of Education in London. Her first degree and doctorate were in psychology and she has an MBA. Jo-Anne is a Visiting Professor at Queen’s University, Belfast.