Inclusion and learning assessment: policy and practice

Autor(es): Hegarty, Seamus

Organisation(s): Global Education Monitoring Report Team

Publisher(s): UNESCO

Date: 2020

Pages: 17 p.

Serie: Background paper prepared for the 2020 Global education monitoring report: Inclusion and education


Assessment is commonly viewed as an obstacle to achieving inclusive education. By ranking students and highlighting the failure of some to reach key learning benchmarks, assessment practices can isolate students with low academic achievement. These exclusionary practices need to be challenged, however. They depend on limited views of assessment and of inclusive education. When we take a broader view of assessment as the measurement of learning outcomes for multiple purposes and in multiple ways, in combination with an understanding of inclusive education as a framework for high-quality, appropriate education, a different picture of the relationship between them emerges. Many of the presumed tensions between assessment and inclusion turn out to be unfounded and, in an important sense, assessment emerges as a key tool in supporting inclusion rather than being an obstacle to it. First, many of the exclusionary concomitants of assessment derive in fact from underlying policies or educational practices, and not from the assessments themselves. Secondly, while assessments are of course used to discriminate between students, this is not always done on an equitable basis. Some tests fail to take account of the impact of disability or other factors on students’ performance in relation to the core measurement objectives and give results which lack both validity and fairness. Finally, assessment in the sense of ongoing monitoring of student learning is an integral element of good teaching and enhances student learning. Specific recommendations follow from this.

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