Briefing Note for CIEA

Meeting with Minister Nick Gibb, 04 July 2018


  • To dispel any misunderstanding that CIEA is an ‘anti-testing’ organisation; it is ‘pro quality, fit for purpose educational assessment’.
  • To raise awareness of the background of CIEA, why it was set up and why it remains relevant today.
  • To raise awareness of the range of activities of CIEA and how these can contribute to the priority policy areas of the current Government.

The three aspects of CIEA activity and how they relate to Government policy priorities

Under each of the headings, points are made that could be mentioned, from the CIEA perspective:

1. Membership services

Recruitment and Retention of Teachers

  • By having levels of membership – we recognise people’s experience and expertise in assessment.
  • We would see CIEA as supporting teacher retention – professional recognition for those undertaking assessment roles (a distinct specialism within the teaching profession) can help keep them in the profession.
  • We want to see recognition for assessment roles - alongside College of Teaching recognition for quality in classroom teaching.
  • The Chartered Educational Assessor role - recognition for professional expertise with ability to lead assessment practice within and across schools and colleges. The ‘Chartered’ status elevates status to match other professions.


  • NC Test marking and GCSE/GCE relies on volunteers – who want their personal commitment and professionalism valued and recognised.
  • Intention was always to build a community of assessment professionals to develop and share good assessment practice (formative and summative).
  • For senior examiners/markers/moderators, there should be an independent ‘industry standard’ (CEA status) to underpin consistency across awarding organisations.
  • Royal Charter/post nominals give some recognition - as with professional bodies in other sectors.
  • CIEA a membership body for assessment professionals with a Code of Conduct.
  • Cannot stop ‘miscreants’ but voluntary acceptance of CoP is positive among the community of assessment professionals.

2. Training Services

  • Our two starting points for designing all CIEA training provision: a] teaching, learning and assessment inextricably linked: b) good assessment practice supports high-quality teaching and learning, in all educational settings.
  • A range of training – for individual and organisations – all focused on building expertise in assessment practice, related to people’s roles in schools, colleges, awarding bodies, professional bodies etc.
  • Excellence in Assessment accreditation programme – use our experts (CEAs) to advise schools and colleges on good assessment practice.

Reducing teacher workload

  • Need to see assessment as integral to T&L, not ‘bolt-on’.
  • Lack of confidence/expertise in assessment leads to greater ‘workload burden’ in terms of assessment (from working with NC requirements/qualification specifications and understanding how to build effective T&L programmes to deliver them, through to using assessment information to diagnose strengths and weaknesses and target subsequent T&L, through to recording pupils’ progress).
  • The Ofsted/Ofsted Director of Policy line seems to support that view – effective assessment practices in schools helps focus on what is important for supporting T&L.
  • We will be sending comments to the Prof Becky Allen Working Group on Teacher Workload.

Improving Initial Teacher Training

  • Still little focus on assessment in ITT programmes (however they are delivered), yet from day 1 as NQTs, will be expected to devise T&L programmes from ‘specifications’, deal with assessments, interpret results etc.
  • Need to raise awareness that assessment isn’t just tests/exams – formative assessment is what teachers need to do all the time to improve T&L, checking learning has happened, target weaknesses and support.
  • Working with UH with ITT students to provide an ‘award’ that raises awareness of assessment issues relevant to classroom practice.
  • Looking to work with other ITT providers to build this into programmes.

3. A voice for assessment professionals

  • Members repeatedly say they want there to be an independent voice for assessment professionals in debates about assessment – on issues from baseline assessment through to how ‘T’ levels are assessed.
  • Regular concern that Govt/Ofsted and other agencies issuing advice/guidance struggle to get messages across or explain rationale – that is where much ‘unease’ over reforms arises.
  • Example of new GCSE grading system – CIEA not against it as such – issues were around why it was changed and lack of clarity on rationale, how the changes were communicated, etc.

The ‘principles’ that guide CIEA’s ‘voice’

  • Supporting professionalism.
  • Staying assessment-focused.
  • Providing a knowledgeable & credible perspective.
  • Being positive about good assessment.
  • Demonstrating independence.

Next Steps?

  • Given constant criticism of ‘poor communication’ from Govt. to the teaching profession on reforms, rationale for changes etc, are there possibilities to use the CIEA communication channels to reach assessment professionals?
  • CIEA members have technical assessment expertise and experience across the range, from primary to tertiary levels – a resource to draw upon?

Contact Details

Simon Sharp, Chair Email:

Alison McCree, Director