Redefining Assessment in Contemporary Classrooms: Shifting Practices and Policies

  • David F. PhilpottEmail author
Part of the The Enabling Power of Assessment book series (EPAS, volume 2)


This chapter explores the evolution of assessment for students with individual learning needs in both the Canadian and global context. Assessment practices may have developed to support students with developmental issues but in today’s schools they are morphing into approaches for a whole other level of individual learning need. This chapter argues that a singular paradigm of assessment no longer exists and that written policy is struggling to stay abreast of a rapidly evolving school context. While this shift in policy and practice is resulting from a number of issues, two in particular –globalisation and inclusion – each are bringing unique criticism of traditional assessment methods that have held to a “testing and labelling” approach. Contemporary schools are characterised by an ethnically diverse population, heightened student mobility and an evolving paradigm of ability. As a result, the praxis between written and enacted policy for assessment is being re-examined. There is growing recognition of a need to shift assessment away from diagnostic/prescriptive approaches back into the hands of teachers. This chapter discusses the impact of this trend and calls for both a re-examination of teacher readiness for change as well as a re-definition of the role of formally testing children with individual needs. It argues that the contemporary classroom is characterised by an inclusive model of support planning where philosophy blends with practice in identifying and accommodating the needs of all students. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the implications of this paradigm shift for educational leaders.


Globalisation Cultural diversity Contemporary classrooms Contemporary assessment Inclusion Inclusive assessment Differentiated instruction Educational leadership 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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