It is an honour for me to apply for the role of Vice-President of AEA-Europe. I have been a proud member of this Association since its inception in 1999 and have been actively involved with its work since then. AEA-Europe has been successful because of its strong and active membership. It provides an excellent forum for assessment organisations and professionals to network, collaborate and share ideas. I am committed to supporting the great work that the Association does so that we can continue to learn from colleagues working in different cultures and different international contexts. I believe that the experience I can bring to the Council as Vice President will allow me to significantly contribute to the Association’s ongoing objectives of promoting a network of professionals across Europe as well as the development of assessment as a central aspect of global significance in education.
With my initial background as a researcher at an examination board in England, a Masters degree in Curriculum Studies and a PhD in Assessment Studies (both from the University of London) and as Professor of Education at Queen’s since 2000, I have gained extensive expertise in the field of assessment across research, policy and higher education domains. My main research interests are in the social constructions and consequences of examinations and assessment practices. My research projects have been funded by national charities, research councils and assessment and curriculum organizations. I have published in the areas of gender, assessment and achievement; equality and ethics in assessment; and student participation in assessment reform. I am an executive editor of the journal Assessment in Education (published by Taylor and Francis); was a Trustee of the English Awarding body AQA (2007-2016) and I chair the AQA Research Committee. In 2009 and 2011 I was appointed Expert Panel Member for Teaching, Learning and Assessment for the UTDANNING 2020 Education Research Programme for the Research Council of Norway. I am an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Oxford Centre for Educational Assessment and from November 2016 will be Visiting Professor at University of Queensland.
I have a sustained and successful relationship with the Association of Educational Assessment-Europe. I was a founding member of the Association in 1999, working with colleagues to draft the Association’s Constitution and set up the structures of the executive council and sub-committees. I served as an executive council member (2000-2006), was the Association’s Vice-Present (2004-6) and worked on behalf of the Council with the conference committee for Dublin (2005). I was chair of the conference committee for Belfast (2011) and was also a member of the conference scientific committee for Glasgow (2015). Presently my contributions to the work of the Association are through: membership of the Audit Committee (2015-), peer-review of conference paper submissions, and evaluations of applications for Fellowship within the Association. I have attended and supported 14 annual conferences (with Cyprus on the horizon!) and I became a Fellow of AEA-Europe in 2007. Through these and my other professional experiences I have gained extensive leadership and management expertise in supporting colleagues to work collectively across various contexts to meet shared goals; these are qualities that I see as essential to the role of VP to support members in achieving success across our various committees and projects.
I wish to see AEA-Europe continue to thrive and develop. I have a strong commitment to making sure that we sustain our vibrant community as we grow as an organisation in the years ahead. We will continue to cultivate and promote the Association so that it extends its audience to countries that are currently less well represented. Our annual conference is our major showcase for all stakeholders in educational assessment across Europe. As such, it is our greatest success for providing high-quality opportunities for professional and research exchanges within supportive environments. In taking on the role of VP, I would wish to focus on how we plan for succession to sustain our vibrant community. I would like to support up and coming researchers in our field (both new researchers working in professional assessment contexts and doctoral researchers in the assessment field). I would wish to promote and develop sustained networks amongst these stakeholders so that they can be part of the continuing life of the Association. This would enable us to consolidate our membership base for the future as well as provide opportunities for all members to share expertise and capacity-build for better assessment practice across our varied traditions and cultures; to work collectively towards building solid and sustainable relationships between all members as well as between the wider groups of stakeholders in the assessment world.
My first involvement with AEA-Europe was as a fresh PhD-student taking part in the conference in Frascati, Italy. Ever since then I have returned frequently to the AEA-E conference. What first attracted me, and still fascinates me, with this organization (and the conferences) is the border crossing that the organization represents: People representing different academic disciplines, different cultural and ideological perspectives on assessment, and not the least, with people representing different roles in the assessment world – from academics working in the frontiers of developing new theory and methods, via practitioners seeking to develop innovative and high quality assessment instruments, to policy-makers aiming to make use of assessments drivers of educational reform efforts. The conversations finding place in such a diverse group are challenging and rewarding at the same time. This is also the greatest achievement of the organization as I see it: AEA-E has created a space for informed discourse on both the benefits and limitations of assessments within specific national contextual frames in a diverse European landscape. As a member of the Council I will seek to safeguard that this genuine interdisciplinary nature of the organization is kept alive.
I have been involved with assessment related research and development for the last 20 years. I have been involved in test development for, operational management of and scientific dissemination from the international assessments (PISA in particular). I regularly teach about assessment for students in teacher education, school leadership and PhD-programs at the University of Oslo. I also supervise Master and PhD students. The last five years I was the director of a relatively large unit (EKVA) at the University of Oslo. This unit is responsible for managing a majority of the international assessments in Norway. In addition, EKVA develops a range of national assessments. Just a few months ago I began in a new position as a professor at the Centre for Educational Measurement (CEMO). This is a truly international research center with colleagues coming from all across the world. In this new position my ambition is to build a portfolio of research on issues of educational measurement in the Norwegian context. Over the last ten years I have also been engaged by the national educational authorities to continuously monitor the quality of all centrally developed assessment tools in Norway. Furthermore, I have been and still am a member of scientific advisory boards for several national committees on assessment issues in our country. Taken together, I believe that the interdisciplinary nature of AEA-E is well reflected in my everyday professional life.
More information about the current council can be found here.