Centre for Assessment

Assessment Research

NFER undertakes assessment-related projects of importance to national and international educational policy and its implementation, involving pure research, the development of assessment instruments and the evaluation of assessment initiatives. Our experience covers the whole range of tests and other assessments, including high stakes tests, assessment banks, e-assessment and assessment for learning.


NFER leads the piloting of many new assessment instruments. Piloting provides reliable evidence to inform refinements to the instruments or processes, or to support the live release of the assessments.

Independent evaluations

NFER undertakes independent evaluations of new assessment systems, ensuring they meet the purposes for which they were designed. Evaluation methodologies include the collection and analysis of test results and user attitudes, as well as comparisons with external measures such as existing tests and more qualitative collection of user views through focus groups.


We also carry out research into effective test development, administration, analysis and reporting methodologies. Recent issues we have been commissioned to research include the reliability of e-marking compared to paper-based marking, assessment for learning in science, and pupil attitudes to reading as part of commissioned research. We also have a programme of self-funded research to inform the wider educational community.