A history of three e-assessment programmes in England


  • Andrew Boyle City & Guilds
  • Tom May City & Guilds
  • Paul Sceeny City& Guilds
  • Paul Sowerbutts City & Guilds


This article considers the use of e-assessment in England in three major education policy initiatives: the key stage 3 Information & Communication Technology (ICT) test, Basic & Key Skills (BKS) testing, and Functional Skills. The article asks why, despite high level backing, e-assessment in England has not taken off as planned. The article draws on a review of literature that evaluates development and implementation of new assessment initiatives in England in the 2000s. It identifies seven themes in that literature: multiple purposes, short-termism, speed, decision-making approaches, complexity, capacity, and relations between stakeholders. Three major e-assessment initiatives are narrated then an interpretive diagram is presented and validated to model commonalities in the three programmes. Following on from this model, the article concludes by positing some suggestions for avoiding some of the difficulties experienced.