The Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors (CIEA)

Briefing note, August 2020


The cancellation of examinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent public outcry over the results awarded by other means has highlighted the near total reliance on externally set and marked examinations. It has also demonstrated issues regarding the fallibility of assessments and the need for high-quality, reliable centre assessment procedures.

A mixture of teacher and externally set components working to a common standard would provide a more balanced and valid approach to assessment – but this requires improvements in the general levels of assessment expertise throughout the education system. The CIEA believes that a balanced approach to assessment will not only improve the consistency and validity of examinations and tests, but also provide wider benefits to the teaching and learning process. However, following the events of summer 2020, time is of the essence if public confidence in educational assessment is to be re-established. Given the likelihood of further disruption to schooling in 2020-21, contingencies need to be in place for awarding grades in 2021.


The CIEA is an independent charitable membership organisation, incorporated by Royal Charter (2007) with the purpose of promoting excellence in all aspects of educational assessment. CIEA members include teachers, examiners, school and college leaders, academics, awarding organisation personnel and people responsible for professional development in diverse sectors including finance, health and land management.

The aim of the CIEA is to improve standards of educational assessment for the advancement of education and training for the public’s benefit. It promotes high standards of educational assessment wherever it takes place.

The CIEA has no political affiliations and does not hold a brief to represent members over contractual obligations.

Origins and need

The CIEA was established with government support in response to difficulties in the awarding of GCE A Levels in 2002 and concerns over the lack of assessment expertise in the education and training system. The CIEA’s potential to improve educational assessment in high stakes examinations and improve teaching and learning is yet to be realised, as exemplified by the key finding of the Carter Review into initial teacher training (ITT) that: “Of all areas of ITT content, we believe the most significant improvements are needed for training in assessment. Findings from the NAHT Commission (2014b) as well as Ofsted have also found weaknesses in assessment training” (p.9, 2015). In the UK, we have reached a point of unwarranted confidence and almost total reliance on externally set examinations and tests, even though research has shown these formats to be as fallible as other forms of assessment.1 Further, concerns about the consistency of centre-based assessment have been exposed by the arrangements for awarding qualifications during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the continued mistrust by teachers of the marking quality of examination boards and statutory assessments.

In short, the furore over the issue of GCE A Level results in 2020 has damaged public confidence in educational assessment. Conversely, it also provides an opportunity to re-consider what we value in our education and training system, what we need to assess and how and when that assessment should be undertaken. Our education system must command the trust of learners, the teaching profession and those who rely on the veracity of assessment outcomes in all areas of society. But trust is fragile and hard earned, and it will now require a concerted effort to re-gain public and professional confidence in educational assessment.

Setting and carrying out educational assessments requires particular skill, expertise and experience. The CIEA supports educational assessors by:

  • Accrediting individuals against the CIEA’s Professional Development Framework, with a route of progression through the CIEA professional membership grades - Associate, Member and Fellow - for those who meet the professional standards;
  • Setting standards of professional conduct through a binding Code of Practice;
  • Offering three levels of qualifications - Certificate, Diploma and accrediting the most experienced assessors as Chartered Educational Assessors;
  • Providing specialist, high quality training for individuals and organisations;
  • Supporting members with advice, information and professional services.

Areas of activity

The Institute has three main areas of activity:

  1. Membership
  2. Training and development
  3. Providing an independent voice on assessment issues

For further details visit the CIEA website

Or email:

Simon Sharp, Chair -

Alison McCree, Director -

Phone: 07917 423248

Phone: 01707 285737