The tensions of transparency in assessment Assessment has come to dominate teaching and learning in many educational settings. Students have become highly strategic learners who want to know how they will be assessed so that they can plan their learning accordingly. Over the past four decades, there has been a move towards greater transparency of assessments, with past papers, assessment criteria, marking schemes and examples of graded work being made available. Understanding what you need to do and opening the ‘secret garden’ of assessment are surely very important principles for empowering students to regulate their own learning and overcoming class-based forms of social capital related to assessment systems. Yet, tensions arise in this model between education and coaching. Valuable learning is a product of memorisation and higher order thinking skills, but if we make things too transparent and overly coach students, we produce dependent learners. In this address, I will critically analyse the tensions arising from transparent assessment practices, drawing upon a national evaluation of examinations in Ireland.
Before coming to OUCEA, Jo-Anne was 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, she is Executive Editor of the journal, Assessment in Education: principles, policy & practice and has recently been working on the relationship between assessment theory and learning.