Upper-secondary education student assessment in Scotland
A comparative perspective
Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) is a pioneering example of curriculum reform,
but the qualifications for upper-secondary school students have seen far less reform.
Exam cancellations in 2020-21, and the debates generated provide an opportunity to
radically reconsider the assessment system. This paper compares the Scottish system
to four other British legacy systems and five other legacy traditions, to offer insight
for how Scotland could improve the alignment between CfE and upper-secondary assessments.
Theoretical considerations further guide the analysis on what constitutes a dependable
and trustworthy assessment system, to refine the reflection around options for the
Scottish system. Three major themes emerge from this comparative review: external
assessments could be more innovative to capture a wider range of student capabilities;
the role of teacher assessment could be reconsidered; and the academic and vocational
strands could be better integrated with the assessment system to offer a broader range
of curriculum options.
Published on August 31, 2021
In series:OECD Education Working Papersview more titles