Assessment Around the World

Scanning the UK and the world for the best assessment practices to learn from.

Rethinking Assessment in Education:

The Case for Change

In this paper, a collaboration between Rethinking Assessment and the Centre for Strategic Education in Australia, Bill Lucas offers an overview of our thinking and findings so far alongside his own wider research. Our young people, the paper argues, require all of us working in education to establish greater clarity about the uses of assessment in education, linked to a greater understanding of the science of assessment.

Across the world schools, districts, states, countries, consortia, NGOs and international bodies are rethinking assessment. 

There is a growing sense that most public examinations, especially in secondary education, don’t examine the right things.

The wider capabilities and dispositions wanted by employers such as creativity and collaborative problem solving are largely absent.

Important aspects of the development of character, resilience and social and emotional learning are missing.

Important aspects of practical and applied learning are almost entirely overlooked.

Refine your search by selecting from the options below.

Where is it from?

Who created it?

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What makes it credible?

What does it assess?


Where is it from?

Who created it?

How is it administered?

What makes it credible?

What does it assess?

Digital badges

A global movement to enable ‘micro-credentialing’ of aspects of any capability or competence. Open Badges claim to be the world’s leading format for digital badges – verifiable and shareable, containing detailed information about the achievement and what the recipient did to earn the badge.

The Mastery Transcript Consortium

A growing network of public and private schools who are introducing a digital high school transcript that opens up opportunity for every student – young people from all backgrounds, locations, and schools – to have their unique strengths, abilities, interests, and histories fostered, understood and celebrated.

Digital portfolios

A variety of approaches to using web pages to curate a wide range of student achievements including external testimony and validation and with reflective comments from students. It reflects their individual career and college goals and showcases examples of their academic work.

Collaborative problem-solving (PISA 2015)

PISA at the OECD is moving away from simply assessing how 15-year-olds perform in single subjects like English, Maths and Science. They are now looking at assessing a variety of learning skills and dispositions. Learn more about their framework for assessing vital skill of collaborative problem-solving.

Creative Thinking (PISA 2022)

PISA has developed a way of measuring creative thinking which will be introduced in 2022. It will include a definition of creativity and show how the skill can be assessed. The assessment spans written and visual, social and scientific to cover a holistic picture of creativity helping assessors to measure the strength of the skill among young people.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner Profile

A globally-used assessment framework. The learner profile describes a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities. It develops learners who are inquirers, knowledgeable thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective.

New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning (NPDL)

Canadian based NPDL works with 1300+ schools and clusters in eight countries. Detailed learning progressions allow students and teachers to track the development of their capabilities across a range of domains that combine knowledge and skills. More and more countries across the world are attempting to measure competencies as well as knowledge.

The New York Performance Standards Consortium

A group of schools that have come together to move beyond standardised tests. The system is based on in-depth literacy, mathematical problem-solving, application of the scientific method, social studies research, a span of mediums for exhibiting learning, and a chance for students to have a voice.

Assessment reform in New Zealand

Countries like New Zealand are actively engaged in thinking about the future of assessment. And many other countries in the Far East like China and Singapore are looking to add capabilities and skills such as creativity to their current focus on academic subjects.

KIPP Character Scorecard

KIPP is a network of 240+ public charter schools in the USA. They realised that when students went to college they were dropping out because they lacked the independence or resilience to persevere. So KIPP has developed a bigger focus on character development.

Character Lab

CharacterLab has provided evidence and resources for each of the character elements that students need to possess. It originates from the work of the KIPP network of schools that believe that social emotional learning has an important place alongside academics.

Critical and creative thinking: Validated online tests

Victoria, Australia, was the first state to test 15-year-olds annually for their progress in critical and creative thinking. Detailed scope and sequence documents, developed by the National Foundation for Educational Research, show what the development of capabilities looks like in four key areas.

Assessment Reform in British Columbia

British Columbia’s Core Competencies are sets of intellectual, personal, and social and emotional proficiencies that help students engage in deep, lifelong learning. They are central to British Columbia’s K-12 curriculum and assessment system and directly support students in their growth as educated citizens.

NAHT Commission on Assessment

The NAHT set up a commission on the future of assessment in 2014. This covered both formative and summative assessment and had a series of recommendations. The report also includes a set of principles for good assessment and an assessment design checklist for schools to use.

Comparative Judgement

A process where assessors compare two responses and decide which is better. Following repeated comparisons, the results are statistically modelled and placed on a scale of relative quality. This method leads to thoughtful professional conversations. It gets away from the tick box, checklist method of grading.

Seven principles for a fair and relevant exam system

An excellent blog from the Institute of Education (IoE) exploring key principles for making our exam system fairer and giving every child the chance to have their achievements recognised. It asks the question: what would a sensible exam system look like if we started from scratch?

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

Equivalent to 50% of an A level, EPQ assesses learners on the quality of their thinking and planning. They might submit a dissertation, an artefact or a dramatic composition, supported by an essay. Many believe the EPQ could become the basis for a more expansive curriculum.

Music grade exams

ABRSM is the UK’s largest music education body. Music is an example of a different type of exam. Performance is graded and students take it when they are ready. Grade 1 and grade 8 can be achieved at a time that suits the student’s progress.

National Baccalaureate

A ‘universal framework for students in all educational contexts that gives recognition to the full range of their achievements and learning experiences including academic qualifications and personal development’. Assessment involves Core learning + Personal project + personal development programme.

Skills Builders framework

A consortium of organisations in the UK which have defined essential skills and developed progression frameworks around them. Every school could adopt this framework to judge the wider abilities of young people and to give credit for the skills that employers are looking for.

Voice 21 assessing oracy toolkit

Schools measure literacy and numeracy but not crucial speaking skills. Voice 21 and School 21 have developed methods for showing progression in oracy and giving it increasing weight. Employers include good oral communication in their top three required skills and need to understand a student’s proficiency.

How assessing deeper learning needs different approaches

Linda Darling-Hammond helpfully describes the different kinds of assessment needed as we try and assess higher order skills. This draws attention to the way in which skills can be assessed within subjects, through portfolios and assignments or through discrete assessments.

Bedales Assessed Courses

BACs are courses offered at Bedales School and accepted by UCAS as equivalent to GCSEs. Courses are internally assessed but externally moderated and quality assured by acknowledged experts. They are assessed with a ‘mixture of formal examinations and coursework’.

First Online Critical Thinking assessment

Callido Learning, a digital publisher for the international schools segment, has pioneered Caliber – an online assessment tool for high schools to measure critical thinking. The tool allows principals, administrators, school chains and government bodies to gain visibility of this core skill.

A new pedagogy by Design in Buenos Aires

St. Andrew Scots School is an Argentinian bilingual school in Buenos Aires. They develop craftsmanship and creativity in students by creating ‘Learner spaces’. These are large, flexible workspaces with blackened walls. Students can express themselves using chalk, teaching them how to learn independently.


The SimScientists program focuses on the role that simulations can play in enriching science learning and assessment. This program creates formative and summative assessments and classroom reflection activities about key middle school physical science such as matter, motion, energy and Waves.

Indian schools adopt new assessment methods

Several private schools in India, including the Chennai Public School introduced online tests with objective type questions. Some of these questions are subjective so the students feel less pressure answering them. The tests are designed to explore new assessment methods based on learning and not on marks.

Collaborative problem solving in virtual environments

EcoMUVE, developed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, uses immersive virtual environments to teach middle school students about ecosystems and causal patterns. Students access virtual worlds simultaneously and undertake different collaborative activities. These activities develop collaborative, leadership, technology use and problem-solving skills.

Assessing group work fairly

The Scottish Qualifications Authority is the executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government responsible of accrediting educational awards. They developed Collaborative Learning Assessed by Social Software (CLASS) which is a moodle installation addressing some of the barriers to assessing evidence produced through group work fairly.

The Skills Framework

The Skills Framework aims to identify the key skills needed to succeed in the workplace, support employment and enhance business competitiveness. This framework provides key information on sector, career pathways, job roles, as well as existing and emerging skills required for the job roles.

Happiness Curriculum

The Happiness Curriculum, launched by New Delhi’s State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), is designed to focus on the process rather than the outcome. It consists of a variety of games, reflective conversations, storytelling, guided practice for mindfulness, role-playing, and presentations.

Neo Alta - Towards a positive assessment system

‘Anatole France’ is a middle school located in Versailles, France. This school launched Neo Alta which is a positive assessment approach reminding students those failures are inevitable, preventing students from becoming disengaged. This initiative is an innovative assessment system and contributes to the well-being of students.

My Voice

My Voice is an engagement framework designed by Achievement NZ Ltd which incorporates strengths-based philosophy and activities into existing curriculum. Through workshops, this framework encourages students to focus on their abilities rather than their weakness allowing them to understand themselves from a positive perspective.

Laser Conversations

The Midland Academies Trust has implemented Laser Conversations at their schools. These are new assessment practices based on peer-discussions between teachers to improve teaching methods. Their aim is to reduce the workload, promote active responses to assessment information and find suitable approaches to help under-performers.

The SEL Assessment Guide

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is a charitable organisation based in Chicago, Illinois. CASEL created the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) assessment guide which provides several resources for teachers, principals and school chains to assess a student’s SEL.

UNICEF MENA Life Skills and Citizenship Education Framework

The Life Skills and Citizenship Education (LSCE) – Conceptual and Programmatic Framework (CPF) brings together partners at the country, regional, and global level to support a holistic, lifelong, and rights-based approach to education in MENA. It is led by UNICEF.

Work Ready Now (WRN) Framework

The Education Development Center (EDC) is designing and implementing innovative programs such as the Work Ready Now (WRN). Through modules like digital literacy or workplace behaviours, the WRN develops in students the skills and attributes needed in today’s workplace while also testing those with soft skills.

Habits of Mind Assessment Rubrics

The Habits of Mind Assessment Rubric, developed by the Institute of Habits of Mind, develops and tests essential “habits of mind” in students. These include “thinking flexibly” or “creating, imagining and innovating” that empower the creative and critical thinking needed in today’s workplace.

Barclays LifeSkills

Barclays LifeSkills is an educational program that aims to help equip young people throughout the UK with the skills and attributes needed for the today’s workplace. This initiative provides a variety of resources to develop capabilities such as critical analytical thinking.

Assessing Life Skills - an example from India

The Life Skills Assessment Scale (LSAS) has been developed in Bengaluru, India by Dr. David Pearson and Dr. Fiona Kennedy. This assessment tool is the only scale in the world that has been specifically designed for measuring life-skills in children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The scale assesses 5 core life skills – a) Ability to take initiative b) Ability to interact with one another c) Ability to solve problems d) Ability to manage conflict e) Ability to understand and follow instructions.