Dr Harold Hislop

“Assessing learning in schools – Reflections on lessons and challenges in the Irish context”

Dr Harold Hislop has been Chief Inspector and a member of the Management Board of the Department of Education in Ireland since 2010. Harold has led a series of reforms in the inspection and evaluation of schools and other education settings, including the introduction of school self-evaluation, the extension of inspections to early learning and care settings, and the development of a co-professional, collaborative approach to inspection that combines both evaluative and advisory functions.

Professor Emer Smyth

Title: Assessment research: listening to students, looking at consequences”

Abstract: This keynote address considers the kinds of information that should be used in looking at reform of assessment systems. The first part of the presentation focuses on the value of taking account of student voice in looking at the effects of different approaches to assessment, especially high-stakes examinations. While students provide invaluable insights, we also need to understand the consequences of different assessment approaches for educational inequality. The second part of the presentation discusses the extent to which different forms of assessment can reinforce (or indeed counter) social inequalities in student outcomes.

Bio: Emer Smyth is a Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Ireland. Her main research interests centre on education, school to work transitions, gender and comparative methodology.  She has conducted a number of studies on the effects of schooling contexts on student outcomes, including Do Schools Differ?

Professor Derek Briggs

Title: Content-Referenced Growth

Abstract: In this presentation I will describe an approach to modeling the results from an educational assessment in a way that focuses attention on the qualitative distinctions in student learning that can be inferred from a quantitative measuring scale. This approach, which I call “content-referenced growth,” has four ingredients that require a significant investment in research and design: (1) a learning progression; (2) a cross grade scale; (3) item mapping; and (4) an interactive reporting system. 

Bio: Derek Briggs is a professor in the Research and Evaluation Methodology program where he also directs the Center for Assessment Design Research and Evaluation. Dr. Briggs’s research focuses upon advancing methods for the measurement and evaluation of student learning. His daily agenda is to challenge conventional wisdom and methodological chicanery as they manifest themselves in educational research, policy and practice.

Dr Paula Lehane

Winner of the Kathleen Tattersall New Assessment Researcher Award 2022

Title: The Impact of Test Items Incorporating Multimedia Stimuli on the Performance and Attentional Behaviour of Test-Takers

Abstract: Technology-Based Assessments (TBAs) use items that employ a broad array of interactive, dynamic or static stimuli e.g. simulations, animations, text-image. Although it is assumed that these features can make TBAs more authentic and effective, their impact on test-taker performance and behaviour has yet to be fully clarified.

Bio: Dr Paula Lehane is an Assistant Professor in the School of Inclusive and Special  Education. A graduate of the B.Ed in  Education and Psychology programme at Mary Immaculate College Limerick, Paula started her career as a primary school teacher in a developing school in Dublin. While working as a primary school teacher, she gained extensive experience in the areas of digital education, literacy, assessment and inclusive education.