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Assessment in England at a crossroads: which way should we go?

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Leech, Tony 


Assessment policy in England is often of public significance. Assessments, especially GCSEs, A levels and their vocational equivalents, have significant stakes for candidates and wider society (including for school accountability and for selection to higher education). Such assessments are frequently critiqued. There has been little major (intended) assessment reform since early 2010s developments under Michael Gove. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has upended previous certainties about assessment. Consequently, a number of reports from educationalists and think tanks into how things might be done differently in the future have been published since 2020. In this article, I overview these reports, explore similarities and differences, and assess the policy changes they recommend. The ideas are explored in relation to four overarching themes: high stakes assessment at 16, the use of online or digital assessment, the number of subjects studied in each phase, and the relationship of academic to vocational study.



Assessment design, Evaluation of assessment, Policy

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Research Matters

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Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

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