Action Research Pilots

At Rethinking Assessment we have embarked on a design thinking process to get underneath the problems with our current assessment system, and find ideas and solutions to test out in our schools and colleges.

We have been looking at a range of options, informed by best practices around the world and from across different settings

At system level

Across groups of schools

In individual schools

At classroom level

Our view of the problem

What we assess

The content of what we are currently assessing is too limited and narrow and focused on knowledge acquisition. We know that a much wider portfolio of skills, experiences and competencies are what young people need, and both employers and wider society wants.

How we assess

Exams are a limited way of assessing learning, with an emphasis on factual recall over deep thinking. We rely on written timebound exams which don’t give the full picture and are biased towards linguistic skills and those good at working under timed conditions.

We need a more balanced, holistic and “multi modal” approach to assessment which supports ongoing learning and enables young people to demonstrate what they know and can do.

Rethinking Assessment is a bottom-up movement drawing on evidence from across the world and from different sectors to show what can be done now in schools and colleges.

Starting in September 2021, we will be launching our first series of disciplined enquiries using action research methods which will ask the following questions:


How might we create a range of interdisciplinary courses and assessments?


How might we create new assessments for the EPQ and HPQ, and evidence learning through a portfolio of work?


How might we create credible oracy components to current exams e.g. Maths A level, History GCSE. And create a successful oracy assessment in its own right based on the 4 strands of oracy?


How might we assess creativity in English, Maths/science, Music and in its own right?


How might we assess critical thinking in English, maths/science and PE/music and discretely?


How might we devise successful open book exams/exams with no time limit?

This is just the beginning, and we will be exploring new questions as our research inquiries develop.

A great opportunity to be part of a powerful movement

This is vital work if we are to have a truly expansive education and curriculum - one which reunites assessment with curriculum and pedagogy 

This is a genuinely collaborative piece of work across schools, countries, and sectors - bringing together state and independent sectors, with Higher Education and policy. 

Rethinking Assessment offers amazing professional development for teachers, with access to support, networks and opportunities which will put us ahead of the curve in terms of the longer term change we will all be facing - hybrid assessment in 2022 and beyond 

Get involved 

We are looking for schools, colleges, MATs, education partnerships and other organisations in England, Wales and Scotland to get involved, with different entry points throughout the year. 

Through the pilots we will support participating organisations to lead disciplined inquiries aimed at helping us understand (a) what we can do differently and the level of change required (b) what professional support is required to make this happen. 

Improving assessment post-Covid will take courage and leadership, and if you’d like to get involved and help make change please get in touch.