Prof. Frank Ventura

Title: MATSEC Examinations: An eventful journey

Abstract: In 1988, the newly-elected government of Malta decided to end the reliance of the education system on the GCE examinations offered by UK examination boards. It set up the MATSEC Examinations Board whose remit was to set up a system of examinations that would replace the UK GCE Ordinary level and the GCE Advanced level examinations. These tasks presented formidable challenges regarding the required standards, equity, integrity and public confidence. The keynote address will elaborate on how the challenges were met in the first years of the operation of the MATSEC Examinations Board; the continued scrutiny by the schools, teachers, parents and the media; the introduction of vocational subjects; and the updates suggested in the evaluation reports published in 1998, 2005, 2010 and 2017.

Bio: Professor Frank Ventura is a key figure in the Maltese educational context.  He contributed to the development of science education programs within the Faculty of Education, University of Malta, and spent many years training science teachers. He was also involved in the setting up of the MATSEC examinations system and he has overseen various assessment reforms. He has contributed to various publications on science education, environmental education, educational assessment, and on his lifelong interest in astronomy in culture.

Prof. Mary Richardson

Title: Many rivers to cross? Navigating the challenging terrains of assessment in education

Abstract: The one continuous factor in most education systems around the world seems to be change of one kind or another.  Such changes might be invoked by decisions of a political, social, national, local, or even personal nature, but they share a common feature – an impact, somewhere, on the lived experience of students and their teachers.  Change is not something that humans seem to like and when it affects a critical aspect of our lives, as educational assessment is, the anxiety and concerns about its value are brought into sharp focus.  However, it doesn’t need to be this stressful and in this talk I will consider how we, as an assessment community:

Bio: Dr Mary Richardson is a Professor of Educational Assessment at the Institute of Education, University College London (UCL).  She leads an MA in Assessment and supervises doctoral students on a range of themes related to assessment theory and practice.  Mary’s work focuses on philosophical issues in assessment and her recent book published by UCL Press (2022) explored how public understanding of assessment needs improving; in 2023, her first work focusing on decolonisation and assessment is due for publication in the Journal of Philosophy of Education.  She is currently leading the national reporting for TIMSS2023 for England and is engaged in research with the Centre for Holocaust Education (UCL) examining how teachers might assess curriculums focused on the Holocaust.  

Prof. Anastasiya A. Lipnevich 

Title: Lost and Found: Navigating the Maze of Instructional Feedback

Abstract: In this presentation, I will describe a series of studies that have investigated instructional feedback, exploring its mechanisms and the diverse (and often paradoxical) effects it has on various educational outcomes. I will delve into the underlying processes that contribute to the effectiveness of instructional feedback and discuss conditions that optimize its potential for enhancing student performance, learning, and individual characteristics. I will share research on assessment approaches employed by instructors and highlight cognitive biases that may influence assessment-related decisions made by both teachers and students.

Bio: Dr. Anastasiya A. Lipnevich is a Professor of Educational Psychology at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Originally from Belarus, Prof. Lipnevich received her combined Master’s degrees in Clinical Psychology, Education, and Italian language from the Belarusian State Pedagogical University, followed by her Master’s in Counseling psychology from Rutgers University. She then earned her PhD in Educational Psychology (Learning, Cognition, and Development concentration), also from Rutgers University. After receiving her PhD, Anastasiya joined Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ as a post-doctorate research scholar. Anastasiya held visiting professorships, among others, at the University of Konstanz (Germany), University of Otago (New Zealand), National Institute of Education (Singapore), University of Trento (Italy); Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain).

Dr. Vasiliki Pitsia 

Kathleen Tattersall New Assessment Researcher Award 2023

Title: Investigating high achievement in mathematics and science in Ireland: An in-depth analysis of national and international assessment data

Abstract: In Ireland, while, on average, students have performed well on national and international assessments of mathematics and science, the low proportions of high achievers in these subjects are noteworthy. Given these patterns and the multifaceted benefits in individual and societal terms that expertise in mathematics and science has been associated with, policymakers in Ireland have begun placing an increasing emphasis on high achievement in these subjects. This emphasis has coincided with ongoing efforts during the last decade to raise interest and improve academic performance within the realm of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

Bio: Dr. Vasiliki Pitsia  is a Research Associate at the Educational Research Centre (ERC), Ireland. She holds a BEd from the University of Ioannina, Greece, an MSc in Quantitative Methods and Statistical Analysis in Education from Queen’s University Belfast, UK, and a PhD in Educational Assessment from Dublin City University, Ireland. In the ERC, Vasiliki is a member of the national TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) team and an Associate Editor for the ERC’s Irish Journal of Education. She has also worked as a researcher, data analyst, and psychometrician on various projects in Ireland and Greece and as a consultant at the World Bank Group, and has given lectures on research methodology, measurement, assessment, and statistics to postgraduate students and staff in academic institutions across Europe.