The outcomes of educational assessments undoubtedly have real implications for students, teachers, schools and education in the widest sense. Assessment results are, for example, used to award qualifications that determine future educational or vocational pathways of students. The results obtained by students in assessments are also used to gauge individual teacher quality, to hold schools to account for the standards achieved by their students, and to compare international education systems. Given the current high-stakes nature of educational assessment, it is imperative that the measurement practices involved have stable philosophical foundations. However, this article casts doubt on the theoretical underpinnings of contemporary educational measurement models. Aspects of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy and Bohr’s philosophy of quantum theory are used to argue that a quantum theoretical rather than a Newtonian model is appropriate for educational measurement, and the associated implications for the concept of validity are elucidated. Whilst it is acknowledged that the transition to a quantum theoretical framework would not lead to the demise of educational assessment, it is argued that, where practical, current high-stakes assessments should be reformed to become as ‘low-stakes’ as possible. This article also undermines some of the pro high-stakes testing rhetoric that has a tendency to afflict education.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1080/00131857.2015.1048668
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,864
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Big Ideas in Education: Quantum Mechanics and Education Paradigms.Kristina Turner - 2021 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 53 (6):578-587.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Naturalizing the Copenhagen Interpretation.G. Szamosi - 1993 - Dialectica 47 (4):305-325.
Measurement and Fundamental Processes in Quantum Mechanics.Gregg Jaeger - 2015 - Foundations of Physics 45 (7):806-819.
The Problem of Measurement - Real or Imaginary?Nicholas Maxwell - 1973 - American Journal of Physics 41:1022-5.


Added to PP index

Total views
16 ( #629,592 of 2,433,155 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #293,757 of 2,433,155 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes