University of Oxford launches Centre for Educational Assessment

The University of Oxford has officially launched the Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment, established by a grant from Pearson plc.

The collaboration brings together research expertise in the University's highly acclaimed Department of Education with Pearson's international expertise in educational assessment.

In an initial 10-year relationship Pearson is funding and supporting the new centre and a Pearson Professor of Educational Assessment. Gordon Stanley is the inaugural director of the centre and Pearson Professor of Educational Assessment, taking up the appointment in April 2008. Professor Stanley was President of the Board of Studies in New South Wales in Australia from 1998-2008. In 2007 he chaired the National Numeracy Review for the Council of Australian governments. He was also a member of the NSW Vocational Education and Training Accreditation Board from 1998-2008 and an overseas member of the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation (now HKCAAVQ). 

As well as having a full-time director, the centre will have post-doctorate scholars and DPhil students, and research staff associated with the research programme as it evolves. It is located within the Oxford University Department of Education where a number of academic staff have research interests in aspects of educational assessment, so many projects will involve them as collaborators or consultants. There will be a formal association with the Psychometric research group of the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Australia.

The launch of the centre was marked with a round-table in Oxford, which brought together researchers and assessment experts in the UK to look at the priorities for research in educational assessment.

Gordon Stanley, Pearson Professor of Educational Assessment and Director of the Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment, said: "We look forward to working collaboratively with other researchers and agencies on the challenges confronting education systems in the quest for global qualifications and standards. The research will look at new approaches to educational assessment to help improve the understanding of different types of learning processes and outcomes. It will examine the opportunities offered by recent advances in learning and assessment technologies, and the challenges presented by the increasing requirement for global qualifications and standards."

Dr John Hood, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, said: "As education becomes increasingly global, Oxford is pleased to be leading the way in launching a research centre that will help improve learning and assessment systems in the UK and around the world."

Dame Marjorie Scardino, Chief Executive of Pearson plc, said: "The work of this new Centre will be valuable to anyone who cares about education. For students, effective measures of achievement are a passport to success in the global knowledge-based economy; for teachers, detailed analysis of assessment can help set the agenda for future instruction; and for government and the public, assessment measures the return on our growing investment in education.

"And while public attention focuses on high-stakes, end-of-year or end-of-school external examinations, we know that regular, low-key assessment for learning is central to personalised and effective education for each child. We are very proud to support the Centre as it advances knowledge on how we learn."

Professor John Furlong, Director of the Department of Education, said: "This is a very important new development for Oxford and for education systems around the world. Assessment is a key part of learning at every level of the education system; it is vitally important to parents, teachers, governments, as well as to learners themselves.  This new centre will help to ensure that our assessment systems in the UK and internationally are underpinned by the highest quality research."

For more information:

Luke Swanson/ Charles Goldsmith: + 44 (0) 20 7010 2310