Assessment framework

Refers to ‘what’ is to be measured in the assessment instrument. It is the operationalization of the broader domain to which the assessment aims to generalize. It specifies the content and skills to be assessed. An equivalent term is test specification.

Citizen-led [household based] assessment

It assesses the basic abilities of children in reading and arithmetic, and is based on household-based sampling (rather than school based) to ensure the involvement of all children including those who have been to school, those who dropped out as well as those who attend different types of schools. Well-known citizen-led assessments include:


Classroom assessment

The process of collecting, synthesizing and interpreting information to aid classroom-based decision making, support student learning (formative assessment) and judge student performance at a specific point in time (summative assessment). It is primarily carried out by teachers and the students in their classrooms, encompassing the formal grading of students’ work as well as more informal observations of students.

International assessment

Large-scale assessment studies, whereby data are collected from a number of countries, allowing each country to compare the results of its students with the results achieved by students in other countries. Well-known international large-scale assessments include:

• PISA: Programme for International Student Assessment
• TIMSS: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
• PIRLS: Progress in International Reading Literacy Study


The process of establishing comparable standards for evaluating student responses to assessment tasks in order to ensure that the data are valid and reliable for the intended purposes. In schools, it involves groups of teachers looking at examples of student work, discussing the extent to which these meet the expected standard, and coming to an agreement on the level of attainment represented by each example.

National [or sub-national] assessment

Large-scale assessment surveys designed to describe the achievement of students in a curriculum area and to provide an estimate of the achievement level in the education system as a whole at a particular age or grade level. This normally involves administration of tests either to a sample or population of students.

Public examination

Assessment specifically designed for the purposes of certifying or selecting students, usually covering the main subject areas in the school curriculum. Generally, all students who take the examination at the designated age or grade level are tested (usually at the end of upper secondary schooling).

School-based assessment

Assessments administered in schools and evaluated by the teachers, marks from which, in some countries, could count towards the students’ external/public examination results.