Creating inclusive educational spaces: assessing assessment in a post-pandemic world

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Authors: Thomas Thyrring EngsigChristopher J. Johnstone & Matthew J. Schuelka

This article was published online on International Journal of Inclusive Education: 27 Oct 2023


This article traces the shutdown of large-scale assessment in two countries – the United States and Denmark – as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These two countries, which have complicated histories with large-scale assessment and inclusion of diverse students, were forced to adjust their testing agendas during 2020. This article seeks to explore what divergent and convergent pathways Denmark and the United States could take in regard to large-scale assessment, particularly in regard to educational inclusion and diversity. Large-scale assessment regimes at once delimit the imaginary of inclusion and actively promote segregation and ability-based tracking, but at the same time represent a space for conceptual inclusion in educational achievement. Given these complexities, we provide policy scenarios on assessments in a post-pandemic world that could hold the potential of transcending the paradoxes presented by the alignment of the elitist educational agendas of assessments on the one hand, and the agenda of inclusion on the other hand. To do so, we chronicle this recent history and then evaluate four future scenarios for the two countries through the lens of educational values and complex systems theory.

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