Annual Report 2007, Ghent

Annual Report 2007, Ghent

Network 9 (Student assessment) was represented at the ECER 2007 conference in Ghent (Belgium) at about the same level as the years before. The network’s programme consisted of 13 sessions (27 papers) and one poster. Each session attracted an audience of between 15 and 25 people. 

Symposium: "Towards explaining achievement: Findings from international comparative achievement studies"

About half of the papers (viz. 14) were presented as a contribution to this symposium titled, for which researchers working on the IEA studies TIMSS (math & science) and PIRLS (reading) and OECD’s PISA were invited.

This symposium had the following sessions:

  • Factors influencing performance in reading
  • Differences in reading performance
  • National issues addressed with international assessments
  • Relationships in mathematics performance
  • Issues related to academic performance
  • Social aspects and academic performance
  • Relationships in science performance

The titles of the sessions illustrate that a variety of themes have been addressed in the secondary analyses of the international databases. 

Paper sessions (total of 13 papers):

  • General aspects in assessment
  • Tools and methods in assessment
  • Assessment in mathematics and science
  • Assessment in reading and writing
  • Assessment in higher education
  • Assessment in vocational education

A concern is that after the conference programme had been published, ten papers were withdrawn for various reasons, mostly that the researcher could not get the funding for attenting the conference. The flip side of this situation was the more time was available for discussion of the papers presented and in most sessions this opportunity has been fully utilized.  

Network meeting

chaired by Tjeerd Plomp, network convenor
This meeting was attended by 11 people and the following topics were addressed:

1.From the EERA convenors’ meeting

The convenors’ meeting suggested a number of points:

  • if symposia, than not only papers from one country
  • strive for joint session with other networks
  • inform network participants about pre-conference for (post-)graduate students
  • apply blind review of proposals.

The last point evoked discussion resulting in the conclusion that the network will not follow this advice. The main reason mentioned was that the ECER conferences are also seen as a capacity building event where researchers from various countries and traditions can meet colleagues from other contexts and in such an encounter they may widen their horizon and develop their capabilities. 

Applying strict criteria in a blind review would exclude researchers for whom participation in the conference would be an important learning event. Preference is given to an approach within which feedback be given on proposals that doesn’t meet criteria for sound research and in which researchers are encouraged to improve their proposals.

2. Purpose and scope of the network

It was felt that the present name of the Network (“Student assessment”) is too narrow. There is a number of topics in the domain of assessment that are not covered by other networks, and that should be brought under the umbrella of Network 9.

Examples of such topics are classroom based assessment, assessment of schools, tools for assessment, measurement related issues, and even a topic like programme evaluation is not covered by any other network.The participants decided that Network 9 should widen its scope and that a better name would be something like “assessment, evaluation and measurement”The network convenor will elaborate a proposal, share this with a number of participants and will then submit it to EERA board.

3. ECER 2008

In general, participants are satisfied with the symposium on international achievement studies and the papers presented in the paper session. But in line with the discussion under the previous point the desire was expressed to strive for more variety in the topics of papers.

It was decided that the convenor will draw up a list of researchers who contributed to previous ECER conferences with a proposal in Network 9. Timely before the next conference, researchers on this list will not only be invited to submit a paper within the scope of the network, but also to encourage colleagues to do so.A number of participants in the network meeting expressed their willingness to participate in the process of reviewing paper proposals.

4. Network convenor

Pekka Kupari (University of Jyvakila) will serve till ECER 2008 for one year as co-convernor, next to Tjeerd Plomp.Wilfried Boss, University of Dortmund, Institute for School Development Research, Dortmund, Germany, is willing to serve as convenor of Network 9 as of 2008.

Each network holds a Network Meeting during ECER and invites interested researchers to join. We have collected the network meeting minutes.
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EERA has published ECER statistics for each network since 2018.
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