Educational Assessment

The Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA) was established in October 2007 by a grant from Pearson to the University of Oxford to provide a centre for research and international development work in educational assessment.

The Director of OUCEA is Therese N. Hopfenbeck. OUCEA’s website is at

OUCEA is an authoritative centre of excellence in the field of educational assessment.  It is a space that is open to different disciplinary, methodological and theoretical approaches, to foster analytical critique.  We are known for conducting distinctive, system-level research that is grounded in extensive knowledge of assessment theory, policy and practice.  Our research continues to include large-scale analyses of quantitative data, as well as assessment policy research.  Our driving rationale is to articulate the impact of educational assessment upon the individual and society.


The Centre’s overall aim is to investigate the impact of educational assessment. Connections between policy, assessment theory and practice need to be elucidated, researched and critiqued for assessment to play a better role in improving education.

The Centre’s main research priorities are to:

  • Conduct research into the role of assessment in developing, implementing and monitoring system-level change.
  • Develop models of educational assessment to increase understanding of learning processes, resource use and outcomes in education systems.
  • Undertake systematic analyses of assessment, public policy and the interaction between them in various sectors of education and subject domains.   For example, the use of international test data within and across education systems.
  • Investigate how assessment is perceived and used by stakeholders (learners, parents, institutions, employers, policy-makers) within education systems.
  • Critically examine notions of validity, reliability and standards in relation to different modes of assessment and to different purposes.
  • Evaluate the potential for the use and application of psychometrics to enhance the validity and reliability of educational assessment.
  • Explore the opportunities for, and the impacts of, new assessment technologies in test design, test distribution, test administration and results delivery.


Administrator: Rachel Dryden

OUCEA is supported by a number of Research Associates:

Several staff of the Department of Education contribute to OUCEA as Departmental Associates. See for details.

Current graduate students are Carol Brown, Kristine GorgenChristine PagetAgni Paramita, Diana Ng Yee PingJeanne RyanAlex ScharaschkinRachel Taylor, Nardos Tesfay and Natalie Usher.