How Is Education Being Assessed Worldwide

Sebastián Pulido
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Assessment plays a major role in education, as a student grading and support mechanism, but also in program improvement. All over the world, there are varying perspectives and approaches, and regions are taking action in different forms of assessment, both inside and outside of the classroom. Here, we show where the focus is, depending on the continent, and what are the most significant trends in assessment which inform the direction the major markets are heading, including K-12, Higher Education, Corporate Education and Training.

Illustration k12


This model originated in North America and has spread throughout the world. It is used to talk about the curriculum for all grades, starting from kindergarten through to twelfth grade. Kindergarten goes from ages four to six, finishing grade 12 at ages 17 to 19. Although initially used for public school education, it can also be applied in private school systems.

Illustration Higher education

Higher Education

Also called third-level education, it is not considered mandatory and includes vocational studies, undergraduate, graduate (masters degrees), doctoral and postdoctoral studies, the latter two being the highest programs in terms of academic achievement.

Illustration Corporate Education and Training

Corporate Education and Training

Activities can range from company training programs to specialized courses for working professionals at colleges or universities. The idea of a “lifelong learning” culture has popularized within the Corporate Education sector, as a continuously educated workforce tends to be a source of competitive advantage.

United States

• There’s a shift from standardized assessment into Performance Based Assessment (PBA). Greater assessment literacy in teachers, as opposed to just following guidelines.1

• PBA measures competencies. For instance, financial literacy assessment shows a student’s ability to manage money responsibly by using different skills.2

Graphic Gross enrollment ratio - k12 United states

 More than 850 colleges and universities across the U.S. no longer mandate score submissions from standardized tests like the SAT and ACT and more than 165 institutions opted for test-optional admissions.4

 Institutions also opt for Student Information Systems and test and assessment companies to execute admission tests, cutting costs and saving time.2

Graphic Gross enrollment ratio HE United States

• In the U.S., companies are more likely to find highly trained workers, both domestic and foreign, and their primary objective when conducting assessment is talent development and retention.6,7

Latin America

 Adoption of North American and European (mainly PBA) methods that promise to be effective in increasing education quality and economic competitiveness.2

 Countries aim at flexible assessment and non-traditional evaluation methods.7

Graphic Gross enrollment ratio K12 Latin America

 Increasing focus onprocess, instead of inputs (resources) and outputs (results), aims to account for a more valid assessment.2

 Rising penetration of technology via Learning Management Systems and Student Information Systems.8

Graphic Gross enrollment ratio HE Latin America

• Latin America is focused on spotting talent in more competitive working environments, and developing it to generate rapid growth. Anticipating market events is also important, as companies generally depend on bigger economies. 6,7


• Student recruitment and retention has greatly increased with the progressive implementation of the K-12 model. The Philippines was the last country to implement itin 2010.8

 21st century skills, namely, creative thought, problem solving, critical thinking, and entrepreneurial spirit are fostered preferably trough non-traditional methods and with the help of technology.9 

Graphic Gross enrollment ratio k12 Asia

 Countries like India, China, Thailand or Indonesia have a large young population that needs to be well educated to maintain economic growth.9

 Distance learning and assessment are key components to narrow the enrollment gap between K-12 and HE.10

Graphic Gross enrollment ratio HE Asia

• With the rapid growth of several Asian economies, assessment is aimed at making companies attractive by improving the work environment and increasing productivity.6,7


 General confidence on curriculum flexibility in Western Europe. In Scandinavian countries, teacher assessment is considered as trustworthy as national exams,while Eastern Europe sees teacher assessment as less reliable.10

 In England, schools can choose their exams from independent exam boards.11

 The European Union promotes inter-European cooperation to achieve a more culturally sensitive assessment.11

Graphic Gross enrollment ratio K12 Europe

 Despite having some of the most traditional HE institutions in the world, Europe wants to invert traditional methods to build assessment around students.11

 Non-traditional assessment techniques are applied for PBA. They depend greatly on the course, subject, or even the teacher.11

Graphic Gross enrollment ratio HE Europe

• Europe wants to retain its highly trained workforce and protect it against economic changes as well as rising attractive markets.6,7

Expert Analysis

7 Tips for Proper Assessment Conduction

Global Corporate Assessment Trends6,7

 There is an increased investment in proactive and integrated assessment. This means assessment that can be done on-the-go and does not interfere with corporate operations

• Return on Investment (ROI) is arguably the most important indicator in corporate assessment

• Talent dashboards are the way to go, providing rich data on current talent, talent gaps, and external benchmarking comparing talent by geography and industry

• Assessment is generally used as part of leadership development programs

• Assessment frequency for Middle Management positions was the highest at 72 %, compared with 55 % for First line supervisors, the lowest frequency

• Engagement/retention remains a top priority, endorsed by 56 % of HR professionals

• Heavy reliance on digital tools such as HRIS (Human Resources Information Systems) for data management and automation

Final Illustratio How Is Education Being Assessed Worldwide


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1 TechNavio. (2016). Global K-12 Testing and Assessment Market 2016-2020. Retrieved from

2 Skuse, E. (2016). Trends And Opportunities In K-12 Assessment: The New Era Of Essa. Emerging Strategy. Retrieved from

3 World Bank. (n.d.). Education. Total enrollment in secondary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population of official secondary education age. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved September 12, 2017 from

4 FairTest National Centre for Fair & Open Testing Survey (2016). Test-optional Admissions Growth Surge; New Survey Shows Record Number Of Colleges And Universities Dropped Act/sat Exam Score Requirements In Past Year;List Now Includes 850 Bachelor-degree Granting Schools. Retrieved from

5 CEB. (2014). Global Assessment Trends survey. Retrieved from

6 Cut-e Group. (2016). The Global Assessment Barometer. Retrieved from

7 Asian Development Bank. (2012). Improving Transitions From School to University to Workplace. Retrieved from

8 Asian Development Bank. (2011). Higher Education Across Asia: An Overview of Issues and Strategies. Retrieved from

9 Association for Educational Assessment. (2010). Framework for Standards for Educational Assessment. Retrieved from

10 World Bank. (n.d.). Education. Retrieved September 12, 2017 from

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