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Faculty of Psychology
Honorary Doctorate 2019

- Educational assessment has a powerful effect upon people’s lives

With it comes a great deal of responsibility. The effects of educational assessments upon learning, and what we can find out about learning from these assessments, are both important facets of this responsibility that have not received enough attention.

Jo-Anne Baird
Professor Jo-Anne Baird, Director of Department of Education, the University of Oxford, is appointed Honorary Doctor at the University of Bergen 2019.
Photo:
David Fisher,

Jo-Anne Baird is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of educational assessment. Baird is Director of Department of Education at the University of Oxford and she has produced over 100 books, articles and reports on systemic issues in educational assessment.  Baird  works closely with policy matters, also having been Standing Adviser to the UK Parliament’s House of Commons Education Select Committee.  

"How do you feel about the appointment"?

"I am delighted that the University of Bergen has recognized my work with this Honorary Doctorate, following a nomination from the Faculty of Psychology".

"Do you find that the culture of the country plays an important role for how learning systems is practiced"?

"Much, though not all, of my own research has been on national examinations.  Looking at the research literature, it would appear that assessment is all conducted the way that it is done in America, but that is not the case internationally.  Many important examinations have different structures and processes, philosophical positions and expectations with regard to the relationship between assessment and learning.  Our examination systems are still largely a province of the national and are deeply embedded in our cultural, historical and social contexts".

"How can we use technology to better align learning and assessment"?

"Technology holds exciting promises for the future of educational assessment, since it is possible to collect data on a much wider range of things than through paper and pencil exercises.  There is greater potential for personalised learning and assessment with technological advances.  However, there is urgent work to be done in this area. There is a real danger of technology sales pitch outstripping its educational capabilities and ethical foundations, as we have already seen dramatically with social media and politics".

"What is your impression of the Norwegian assessment policy"?

- Norway is the only country in the world that has embraced assessment for learning policy as part of its legal obligations. This is very encouraging for its emphasis upon child-centered education.  Yet, at the same time, it has adopted national testing and there have been protests about how assessment data has been used.  Both of these trends are international, but they are in opposition in some regards.  

Highly influential in setting examination standards

Professor Jo-Anne Baird’s work on standard setting practices has been highly influential on the process of setting examination standards in England, and her recent landmark work extended the analysis to examination boards internationally, showing that practices were highly contextualised.  Baird continues to collaborate on research in Bergen as well as leading research programs in Oxford.

"For us, Jo-Anne Baird was an obvious choice. In addition to being an internationally renowned and highly respected researcher in a domain central to our field, she has made invaluable contributions to both the Department of Education and SLATE at the Faculty of Psychology, through her generosity, creativity and collaborative nature", says associate professor Astrid Tolo, Head of Department of Education.