Network 9 was represented at ECER 2003 by two network symposia, one focusing on TIMSS and the other on baseline assessment, and four individual paper sessions, together covering a variety of different topics:
- Contexts of learning mathematics and science: Lessons learned from TIMSS - with presentations from Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Norway, South Africa and the USA
- The interpretation and use of international baseline assessment data - with presentations from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland and South Africa
- Attitudes to school, to learning and to assessment – with presentations from Germany, Sweden and Scotland
- Formative assessment, peer assessment, external assessment – with presentations from Slovenia, England and the Netherlands
- Developing and using new test forms and questionnaires - with presentations from Turkey and Russia
- Interpreting international survey data – with presentations from Finland and Slovenia
The 2-session TIMSS symposium continued an ongoing ECER symposium series. Once again presenters from a variety of different countries addressed a number of relevant and interesting topics: the influence of school characteristics on science performance; how to influence science attitudes; cultural and geographic differences in item performance; scoring trend items; and communicating TIMSS results to schools.
The 3-session baseline assessment symposium similarly continued an ongoing symposium series on this general theme, with an internationally broad set of presenters describing the ways in which baseline assessments are used and valued in different countries around the world, and how baseline results can be used to make international comparisons of pupil attainment.
As always, the individual paper presentations covered a variety of issues, including the growth of formative assessment in Slovenia, peer assessment in university teaching in the Netherlands, assessing pupils’ social skills in Turkey, the effect of psycho-social factors on mathematics attainment in Russia, standard setting in external examinations in England, pupils’ perceptions of the examination process in Scotland, and pupils’ attitudes to the primary-secondary transition in Germany.
However, despite their variety of assessment topic, all the presentations focused on assessment in the primary and secondary school sectors, or, in one case, in higher education. Once again, no proposals were received concerning the assessment of vocational skills, in school or at the workplace, and neither were there any proposals on the topic of assessment in distance education. These areas continue to be neglected.
Also, while TIMSS was again well represented, there were no symposium proposals relating to PISA or PIRLS. These would be welcome in the future, as would presentations about national survey programmes, given the growing importance of attainment surveys generally.