Internet-Based Assessment 2002 -2004



Working Bibliography on Assessment 1

This is a working bibliography. It is not exhaustive. It is prepared for teachers rather than researchers. It provides an overview of key ideas that surround the organisation and implementation of testing, examinations and assessment. This bibliography is managed by


Assessment for learning (general):

Background to the emergence of what has been called non-traditional or alternative assessment. In this project it is also called 'assessment for learning' - to distinguish it from 'assessment of learning.

Assessment for learning (key ideas):

Concepts that appear repeatedly in the literature of 'assessment for learning'. These include, formative, summative, high stakes, low stakes, convergent, divergent, validity, the Woebegone effect.

History of testing:

Provide background to controversies around the social use of educational testing
Assessment as a socio-technical process: Illustrate the fact that testing is not only a technical process but also saturated with social and ethical meaning.

Impact of the internet on testing:

provides information on the impact on the internet on educational testing and assessment


Papers that suggest how teaching and learning might be organised around 'assessment for learning'

Assessment for learning (general)

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 5(1), 7-74.
A paper that circulated widely among classroom teachers.

Black, P. (2001). Dreams, strategies and systems: Portraits of assessment past, present and future. Assessment in Education, 8(1), 65-85.
Elegant review of the history of testing, with close attention to the recent influence of performance assessment. Author's address: School of Education, King's College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building, Waterloo Bridge Wing, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NN, UK.

Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4-14.
Presidential address to the American Educational Research Association that focuses on 'classroom assessment…the kind of assessment that can be used as part of instruction to support and enhance learning'. Available at

Torrance, H. (Ed.). (1995). Evaluating Authentic Assessment. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Starting from a review of the use of assessment to 'drive' curricula, contains a range of valuable discussion of assessment to support learning.

Stake, R. E. (2001). Evaluation of testing and criterial thinking. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Conference, San Francisco.
Explores the test-related implications of the thesis that 'tests help our students learn less and help our schools teach poorly. Author's address: School of Education, University of Illinois (Champaign Urbana), 1310 S. Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820, USA.

Elwood, J., & Klenowski, V. (2002). Creating communities of shared practice: The challenges of assessment use in learning and teaching. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 27(3), 243-256.
A good introduction to the difference between assessment of learning and assessment for Learning. Address: Graduate School of Education, Queen's University, Belfast Bt7 1HL, UK).


Assessment for learning (key ideas)

Torrance, H., & Pryor, J. (2001). Developing formative assessment in the classroom: using action research to explore and modify theory. British Educational Research Journal, 27(5), 615-631.
Good discussion of the distinction between convergent and divergent assessment. (Author's address Graduate Research Centre in Education, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RG, UK)

Sadler, D. R. (1998). Formative assessment: Revisiting the territory. Assessment in Education, 5(1), 77-84.
A review of the work of Black and Wiliam. It concludes that formative assessment 'does make a difference', provided that attention is given to the 'quality' of feedback. Author's address: Faculty of Education, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland 4111, Australia.

Scriven, M. (1967). The methodology of evaluation. In R. W. Tyler, Gagné, R. M., Scriven, M. (Ed.), Perspectives of curriculum evaluation (pp. 39-83). Chicago: Rand McNally.
The original source of 'formative' and 'summative'.

Linn, R. L. (2000). Assessment and accountability. Educational Researcher, 29(2), 4-16.
Good review of high stakes and low stakes testing in the USA. Available at /

Messick, S. (1980). Test validity and the ethics of assessment. American Psychologist, 35(11), 1012-1027.
Begins to outline Messick's path-breaking thinking on test validity that was fully reported in S. Messick (1989) Validity. In R. Linn (Ed.), Educational Measurement (3 ed., pp. 13-103). New York: Macmillan.

Haney, W. (2002). Lake Woebeguaranteed: Misuse of test scores in Massachusetts, Part 1. Education Policy Analysis archives, 10(#24).
Good explanation and analysis of the 'woebegone effect' where all children score 'above average'. A recurrent feature of high stakes testing.

Amrein, A. L., & Berliner, D. C. (2002). High-stakes testing, uncertainty, and student learning. Educational Policy Anlysis Archives, 10(18). Available at Uses a version of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle - that the more important that any quantitative social indicator becomes in social decision-making, the more likely that it will be to distort and corrupt the social process that it is intended to monitor - to suggest that high-stakes testing programs are a 'failed policy initiative'.


History of testing

Delandshere, G. (2001). Implicit theories, unexamined assumptions and the status quo of educational assessment. Assessment in Education, 8(2), 113-133.
Begins to excavate the historical and ideological context of testing in the USA.

Hanson, F. A. (1993). Testing Testing: Social consequences of the examined life. Berkeley: University of California Press.
A classic anthropological analysis of testing. Key ideas include that a 'test is a special sort of investigation in which the information that is collected is not itself the information that one seeks but is instead a representation of it' (p. 18); and that test results are 'hyperreal' where the 'signifier so dominates or enhances the process of representation that it (the signifier) becomes more impressive, memorable, actionable and therefore more real that what it signifies (p. 298).

Lemann, N. (1999). The Big Test: The secret history of the American Meritocracy. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.
A sharp analysis of the role of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in the development of university admissions in the USA.


Assessment as a socio-technical process

American Educational Research Association (2000). AERA position statement concerning high-stakes testing in pre-K-12 education. American Educational Research Association. Available:

Brookhart, S. M. (2001). Successful students' formative and summative uses of assessment information. Assessment in Education, 8(2), 153-169.
Clear analysis of the continuum between formative and summative assessment. Author's address: School of Education, Dusquesne University, Pittsburg PA 15282, USA.

Power, M. (1999). The Audit Society: Rituals of verification. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
A classic text on the association of decentralisation and performance control.


Impact of the internet on testing

Bennett, R. E. (2001). How the internet will help large-scale assessment reinvent itself. Education Policy Analysis archives, 9(5).
Good introduction to the impact of on-line testing as big business. Available at

Bennett, R. E. (2002). Using electronic assessment to measure student performance ( Vol. 2002). Washington DC: National Governors' Association (,1188,C_ISSUE_BRIEF^D_3126,00.html).
Good, balanced review.

Howe-Steiger, L., & Donohue, B. C. (2002). Technology is changing what's 'fair use' in teaching - again. Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 10(4).
A useful discussion of the intellectual property rights associated with using the internet as a teaching resource. Available at

Pollitt, A. (2001). Educational Standards (essay review). Assessment in Education, 8 (2), 261-271.
A thorough review of the technical, epistemological and social problems associated with the measurement of educational standards. (Author's address: University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, Cambridge CB1 2EU, UK.)



Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (2001). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
An exhaustive analysis of how teaching could be organised around using assessment practices in teaching and learning.

Wiliam, D. (2001). An overview of the relationship between curriculum and assessment. In D. Scott (Ed.), Curriculum and Assessment (pp. 165-181). Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing.
Likely to become a classic analysis.

(the end)