Mr Ernest Spencer
- Honorary Senior Research Fellow (Culture, Literacies, Inclusion & Pedagogy)
Ernest Spencer has conducted research on, written about and promoted professional understanding of literacy, pedagogy, assessment for learning, national qualifications, national and international monitoring and transformational change since the 1970s, with a consistent emphasis on learning as the central concern of all assessment. After working in further education and secondary schools, including leadership of an English department, he served for ten years as Senior Research Officer at the Scottish Council for Research in Education (SCRE). For eighteen years he was a member of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education (HMIE), where he held the positions of National Specialist for Assessment and National Specialist for English and Drama.
At SCRE he led major research projects on assessment and on language/writing across the curriculum. As the HMIE National Specialist for Assessment, he provided policy advice and contributed significantly to teacher education during the development of the original Scottish monitoring surveys (the Assessment of Achievement Programme) and the Higher, Standard Grade and 5-14 assessment arrangements. He has more recently conducted assessment-related research in the context of Curriculum for Excellence for the University of Glasgow (in a Scottish Government-funded project), Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). He has participated in and published material on international assessment developments, including the planning, implementation and impact of international monitoring surveys, an ESRC-funded series of seminars on new assessment paradeigms and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study of formative assessment in secondary schools.
He has been an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Education, University of Glasgow since 2002.
In collaboration with University of Glasgow colleagues and in consultancy activities for other bodies, including Scottish Government, Education Scotland, SQA and local authorities, I have worked throughout my association with the University to develop and maintain high quality interactions among researchers, policy makers, advisers and teachers. The consistent aims have been to optimise assessment policies and practices and to promote understanding of two key ideas:
- that curriculum, pedagogy and assessment are integral, interacting parts of a whole;
- that effective change in education is a complex matter requiring manifestly valuable educational aims, active engagement of and respect for the professionalism of teachers and the commitment of all key players across the whole educational system.
These broad aims underpin two major areas of work in which I am currently active –
- The CAMAU (STEPS) Research Project, involving collaboration with policy makers and teachers to develop and then, in implementation of it, adapt and modify the Curriculum for Wales as a Progression Framework (with colleagues in the University of Glasgow Educational Assessment Network (UGEAN) and in the University of Wales Trinity St David),
- The International Educational Assessment Network (IEAN), which brings together policy makers and researchers from twelve small nations and states to tackle assessment challenges collaboratively.