Student Assessment in a Civil Society

  • Charles F. Webber
  • Shelleyann ScottEmail author
Part of the The Enabling Power of Assessment book series (EPAS, volume 2)


A rigorous public education system is crucial in supporting and nurturing a strong civil society and assessment is a key component of teaching and learning within any education system; however, assessment is also one of the most contentious and politicised dimensions within societies. Assessment data at all levels of an education system informs decision making, policy and practices, as well as individual student achievement and careers. The importance of assessment therefore cannot be debated but there must be appropriate and sound debate regarding assessment issues with stakeholders working together to balance the needs of students with the other purposes and uses of assessment information. When stakeholders constructively engage with each other for the advancement of teaching, learning and assessment they demonstrate multidimensional perspectives, thereby strengthening the fabric of a civil society. Conversely, when partisan politics prevails and unidimensional thinking abounds – displaying limited role conceptualisations thereby restricting opportunities to improve their educational systems – it places at risk the robustness of a civil society and reinforces stagnation and the maintenance of the status quo. Hence, a tenet of a democratic civil society is the preservation of respectful, open dialogue among divergent voices with the aim of producing a better educational system for all young people within that society.


Civil society Democracy Assessment Leading assessment Multidimensional perspectives Unidimensional perspectives Politics Stakeholders Tensions and opportunities Assessment within teaching and learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Continuing Education and ExtensionMount Royal UniversityCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Werklund School of EducationUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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