account arrow-down-linearrow-down-small arrow-downarrow-download arrow-left-small arrow-leftarrow-link arrow-rightarrow-upawarded books calendar close-modal closedate delete document education emailevent facebookhamburger impact instagramjustice linkedin location-outline location opinion page phonepinterestplay plusplyr-pause plyr-play post preview project publication reports search-bigsearch share star-full star-open startime twitterwelfare youtube zoom-in zoom-out

The Assessment Reform Group

Project overview


The Assessment Reform Group was a voluntary group of researchers brought together as the Policy Task Group on Assessment by the British Educational Research Association (BERA) in 1989. In 1996, when BERA ceased to support policy task groups, the Group adopted the name ARG and its meetings were funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The ARG was dissolved in 2010.

The aim of the Assessment Reform Group (ARG) was to ensure that assessment policy and practice at all levels takes account of relevant research evidence. In pursuit of this aim the main targets for the Group’s activity were policy-makers in government and its agencies. It also worked closely with teachers, teacher organisations and local education authority staff to advance understanding of the roles, purposes and impacts of assessment.

The activities of the Group included study of the implications of assessment policy and practice, as well as reviewing research and disseminating findings through conferences, seminars and publications.

Inside the Black Box

In 1996 the Foundation funded Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam, part of the ARG, to undertake a literature review on the use of assessment to help with learning. They found decisive evidence that ‘formative assessment’ could improve learning, and published a booklet for practitioners called Inside the Black Box.

Additional funding from the Foundation enabled the ARG to publish a further booklet, ‘Assessment for Learning: Beyond the Black Box’, which is available to download as a PDF from the publications section on this page.

After the publication of this review, a programme of work with teachers led to the identification by Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall and Wiliam of advice for improving classroom assessment. This was published in 2002 as Working inside the Black Box.

Assessment systems for the future

In 2003, the Foundation awarded the ARG a grant to explore the role that assessment by teachers could take for summative purposes. More information is available on the project page.

Analysis and review of Innovations in Assessment (ARIA)

The Foundation also funded the ARG’s Analysis and Review of Innovations in Assessment (ARIA) project, which was designed to help develop understanding of assessment involving teachers. More information is available on the project page.

Latest on this project


Members of the ARG


Members of the ARG between 1989 and 2010 were:

Professor Jo-Anne Baird
Professor Paul Black
Professor Patricia Broadfoot
Professor Richard Daugherty
Professor Bryan Dockrell
Professor Kathryn Ecclestone
Professor John Gardner
Professor Caroline Gipps
Professor Wynne Harlen
Professor Louise Hayward
Professor Mary James
Dr Paul Newton
Professor Desmond Nuttall
Professor Judy Sebba
Professor Gordon Stobart
Professor Dylan Wiliam

Publications


Black Box series

Black P and Wiliam D (1998) Inside the Black Box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Originally published by King’s College, now by GL Assessment.

Inside the Black Box was published in amended form in a US journal as: Black P and Wiliam D (1998) ‘Inside the Black Box: Raising standards through classroom assessment’, PhiDelta Kappan 80 (2.139-148 October 1998). Reprinted in 2010 as ‘Kappan Classic’ in PhiDeltaKappan 92(1) 81-90.

The Assessment Reform Group, Assement for learning: Beyond the Black Box (1999), University of Cambridge School of Education (PDF)

The Assessment Reform Group, The role of teachers in the assessment of learning (PDF)

Books

Black P, Harrison C, Lee C, Marshall B and Wiliam D, (2003) Assessment for Learning– putting it into practice, Buckingham, Open University Press. 

Journal articles

Black P and Wiliam D (1998) ‘Assessment and Classroom Learning’ Assessment in Education 5(1) 7-74. 

Black P and Wiliam D (2003) ‘In Praise of Educational Research’: formative assessment, British Educational Research Journal 29(5) 623-37. 

Wiliam D, Lee C, Harrison C and Black P (2004) ‘Teachers developing assessment for learning: impact on student achievement.’ Assessment in Education 11(1) 49-65.

Harrison C (2005) ‘Teachers Developing Assessment for Learning: Mapping Teacher Change’ Teacher Development 9 (2), pp. 255-264.

Lee C. and Wiliam D (2005) ‘Studying changes in the practice of two teachers developing assessment for learning’ Teacher Development 9 265–283.

Explore our projects

Young-boy-uses-tablet-with-mother-for-maths-learning-Can-maths-apps-add-value-to-learning-PROJ
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2022

Can maths apps add value to learning?

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Evaluating the short- and medium-term impacts of Sure Start

View project
Male-teacher-teaches-teenagers-in-secondary-school-lesson-Autonomous-schools-and-the-teacher-labour-market-Evidence-from-academies-PROJ
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2021

Autonomous schools and the teacher labour market: Evidence from academies

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2021

Ethical principles underpinning co-production with young people

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2020

COVID-19 mitigation measures: education provision and access to special schools

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on mainstream schools in England

View project
Teenage-girl-looks-at-smartphone-next-to-laptop-Growing-up-under-COVID-19-PROJ
In progress

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2021

Growing up under COVID-19

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2021

Post-16 educational trajectories and social inequalities in political engagement

View project
Young-boy-wearing-glasses-watches-laptop-school-lesson-with-notepad-The-effects-COVID-19-on-families-time-use-child-development-PROJ
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2022

The effects of COVID-19 on families’ time-use and child development

View project
Teacher in classroom with laughing primary school students, reading a story to them.
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Gene-environment interplay in early life cognitive development

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2022

Competitive effects of free schools on student outcomes in neighbouring schools

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2022

Comparisons of cognitive skills and educational attainment across the UK

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Evaluating the short- and medium-term impacts of Sure Start

View project
Teacher in classroom with laughing primary school students, reading a story to them.
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Gene-environment interplay in early life cognitive development

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2021

Ethical principles underpinning co-production with young people

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2020

COVID-19 mitigation measures: education provision and access to special schools

View project
Male-teacher-teaches-teenagers-in-secondary-school-lesson-Autonomous-schools-and-the-teacher-labour-market-Evidence-from-academies-PROJ
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2021

Autonomous schools and the teacher labour market: Evidence from academies

View project
Young-boy-uses-tablet-with-mother-for-maths-learning-Can-maths-apps-add-value-to-learning-PROJ
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2022

Can maths apps add value to learning?

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on mainstream schools in England

View project
Early years worker sitting at table with children
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2021

The ‘common elements’ approach: improving outcomes in early childhood education

View project
Teenage-girl-looks-at-smartphone-next-to-laptop-Growing-up-under-COVID-19-PROJ
In progress

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2021

Growing up under COVID-19

View project
Young-boy-wearing-glasses-watches-laptop-school-lesson-with-notepad-The-effects-COVID-19-on-families-time-use-child-development-PROJ
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2022

The effects of COVID-19 on families’ time-use and child development

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2021

Post-16 educational trajectories and social inequalities in political engagement

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2022

Comparisons of cognitive skills and educational attainment across the UK

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Evaluating the short- and medium-term impacts of Sure Start

View project
Teacher in classroom with laughing primary school students, reading a story to them.
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Gene-environment interplay in early life cognitive development

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2021

Ethical principles underpinning co-production with young people

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2020

COVID-19 mitigation measures: education provision and access to special schools

View project
Male-teacher-teaches-teenagers-in-secondary-school-lesson-Autonomous-schools-and-the-teacher-labour-market-Evidence-from-academies-PROJ
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2021

Autonomous schools and the teacher labour market: Evidence from academies

View project
Young-boy-uses-tablet-with-mother-for-maths-learning-Can-maths-apps-add-value-to-learning-PROJ
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2022

Can maths apps add value to learning?

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on mainstream schools in England

View project
Early years worker sitting at table with children
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2021

The ‘common elements’ approach: improving outcomes in early childhood education

View project
Teenage-girl-looks-at-smartphone-next-to-laptop-Growing-up-under-COVID-19-PROJ
In progress

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2021

Growing up under COVID-19

View project
Young-boy-wearing-glasses-watches-laptop-school-lesson-with-notepad-The-effects-COVID-19-on-families-time-use-child-development-PROJ
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2022

The effects of COVID-19 on families’ time-use and child development

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2021

Post-16 educational trajectories and social inequalities in political engagement

View project
In progress

Education | 2020 - 2022

Comparisons of cognitive skills and educational attainment across the UK

View project
Reported

Education | 2014 - 2015

The Nuffield Languages Inquiry and Nuffield Languages Programme

View project
Reported

Education | 2003 - 2003

Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training

View project
Reported

Education | 2017 - 2018

Growing up digital

View project
Reported

Education | 2013 - 2019

Pupils’ understanding of evolution and inheritance

View project
Reported

Education | 2013 - 2016

When to teach what? Sensitive learning periods and adolescence

View project
Reported

Education | Welfare | 2013 - 2019

Neglected tropical diseases

View project
Reported

Education | 2016 - 2017

School choice and equality of opportunity

View project
Reported

Education | Welfare | 2015 - 2016

Out-of-school-time programmes and GCSE performance

View project
Reported

Education | 2018 - 2020

Teaching reading: an integrated programme for deaf & hearing children

View project
Reported

Education | 2013 - 2013

The effect of school inputs on educational achievements

View project
Reported

Education | 2014 - 2017

Special Educational Needs in Secondary Education (SENSE)

View project
Reported

Education | 2012 - 2017

Reading and dyslexia in deaf children

View project
Search projects

We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.

Profile