A necessary component of any education reform initiative is the design and implementation of assessment tools that not only measure academic attainment but also socio-emotional developmental gains of learners. Authentic evaluation of education systems should take into consideration local contexts while generating evidence-based information. One of the challenges with assessing and evaluating contemporary education systems and ways they fulfill the requirements to teach 21st century skills is that “without an absolutely clear understanding of a learning domain, or ‘construct,’ designing assessment frameworks and tasks are impossible” (Care, Kim, Vista, & Anderson, 2018, p. 3). Based on the awareness to the complexities of assessment and the gaps in knowledge especially in Muslim societies, IIIT seeks to encourage research on assessment and evaluation methods that are suitable for the contexts of Muslim societies. These evaluation results should inform policy making processes impacting students, educational administration, and teacher performance in the areas of 21st century skills and value-based education. Accumulated data-driven knowledge in this area of research will be shared with the public to benefit all stakeholders.
- Care, E., Kim, H., Vista, A., & Anderson, K. (2018). Education system alignment for 21st century skills. The Brookings Institution.
“Educational assessment is both ubiquitous and unpopular. Despite increasing visibility of concepts such as ‘assessment for learning’ or ‘formative assessment,’ which describes the constructive use of assessment to inform teaching, the primary use of assessment by national education systems remains summative–for use in certification, identification of eligibility for education progress, and system accountability. The assessment of 21CS, still in its infancy, does not lend itself easily to the modes of assessment that typically populate summative assessment approaches. The paper identifies possible assessment approaches, using examples to highlight effective strategies for assessment of the skills, while acknowledging the technical difficulties associated with ‘capture’ of behaviors in scoring and reporting them. In order to appreciate the implications of the nature of the skills for assessment, Gulikers, Bastiaens, and Kirschner’s (2004) authenticity framework is used to evaluate the adequacy of specific assessment tools designed to measure these skills. This leads into a discussion of use of learning progressions both to model the development of complex skills, and as a scoring and reporting mechanism. Both expert-driven and empirical approaches to development of learning progressions are described, making clear that these progressions are central to moving the 21CS agenda forward.” (p. 3)
- Gebril, A. (2016). Educational Assessment in Muslim Countries: Values, Policies, and Practices. In G.T. Brown (Ed.), Handbook of Human and Social Conditions in Assessment (pp. 420-435). New York: Routledge.
“Investigating assessment policies and practices in Islamic countries is a thorny under-taking given diverse linguistic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. Further this issue cannot be studies without addressing the historical, political, and social factors affecting educational policies and practices. Economic and nationalistic priorities have always been the main driver behind most educational policy initiatives in Muslim countries and have, consequently, affected assessment practices and values. Preserving/re-creating national identity and rationalizing the distribution of limited opportunities in schools and universities have helped in promoting the gatekeeping function of assessment in these countries. Most policies in Muslim countries have also promoted the accountability function of assessment. Within such a high stakes assessment setting, unhealthy instructional activities thrive. Muslim countries need to address these challenges by developing learning-oriented assessment policies that foster real learning rather than test oriented practices. Teachers should also be provided with the support needed to work within this context. Finally, there is a need for improving communication about assessment results and their meaning among different stakeholders to make sure that those stakeholders understand issues similarly.” (pp. 432)