Assessment Trends in 1992: Future Directions Handicapped by a Legacy from the Past?

  • Deborah Willis


There has been a noticeable increase in the pace of assessment and curriculum reform as a result of the National Government’s Achievement Initiative. However, these developments should not be seen in isolation and are more accurately a continuation of earlier changes. One of the most significant developments was the abolition of the University Entrance Examination and its replacement with the internally assessed Sixth Form Certificate, the assessment of which has moved progressively towards achievement-based criteria. Other examples include the development of student records of achievement (Nightingale, 1990) and the increased use of diagnostic assessment in the junior school in areas such as reading and mathematics.

The reform process has not always been a smooth one. For example, intense debate took place in the years preceding the Labour Government’s removal of the University Entrance examination. Indeed the merits of external examinations are still argued by individuals and groups from many sectors of society. The intensity of feeling is not surprising because although assessment is only one form of discourse about schooling practice it is “uniquely privileged” (Berlak, 1992, p. 191) This is because of the perceived importance of assessment for providing information about student, school and system performance. It represents a powerful mechanism of control...


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Author Biography

Deborah Willis
How to Cite
WILLIS, Deborah. Assessment Trends in 1992: Future Directions Handicapped by a Legacy from the Past?. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], n. 2, oct. 1992. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 oct. 2020. doi:


Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability