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Assessment not testing, offers opportunities to learn - O’Dowd

10 November, 2011 - by John O'Dowd

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has opened the annual conference for the Association of Education Assessment Europe (AEA – Europe).

The conference, which aims to foster co-operation, has attracted educational experts from over 25 countries to Belfast to discuss issues relating to educational assessment.
Speaking at the event the Minister said: “Education is about much more than taking and passing tests and exams. It is something to be valued, promoted and improved to further the life chances of our young people.

“It is refreshing to be here, to hear how assessment can be used as an opportunity to learn, not something to be dreaded and feared. It has a key role in helping schools to improve outcomes for pupils and keeping parents informed of their child’s progress.

“Recently I outlined how I intend to implement a number of programme policies aimed at raising standards and tackling underachievement. Included within this is a new approach to the assessment of key skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT. These will focus on levels of progression and what a child can do rather than what they can’t.

“I strongly believe assessment should be teacher led, a teacher’s professional judgement is a valid form of assessment; tests can inform judgement but can never be a replacement for it. I want to thank the organisers for their kind invitation and wish them every success for the event. This conference offers an invaluable opportunity to compare and share best practice as we step up the pace of change here.”

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