Inclusion in Testing Times: Implications for Citizenship and Participation

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Abstract

Testing and inclusion are two global education policy agendas with seemingly divergent aims. While inclusion suggests that every student can make a valuable contribution to their learning environment, testing has the capacity to exclude those who do not attain the ‘right’ knowledge in the ‘right’ way. National policies of testing
and inclusion therefore have implications for students’ participation in education and, implicitly, their future citizenship. Drawing on data from national-, regional- and school-level policy document analysis and qualitative interviews with policymakers, school leaders, teachers and students, this background paper explores the testing
and inclusion agendas in five national contexts: Argentina, China, Denmark, England (UK) and Israel. It is argued that testing and inclusion, in the context of wider political, socio-economic, geographical and cultural forces, have combined to marginalise particular groups of students in each national jurisdiction. Moreover, the inclusion
agenda is challenged by: i) the more dominant testing agenda; ii) limited engagement with broader conceptual understandings of inclusion; and iii) insufficient financial investment. Although the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated social and educational inequalities, students in certain contexts benefited from new approaches to
learning. In light of the challenges and opportunities presented by the current health crisis, we conclude our paper with proposals for future policies of assessment and inclusion.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUNESCO
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2020

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