Who we are

The Independent Assessment Commission (IAC) brings together academics, parents and students as well as the National Education Union, Chartered College of Teaching, the EDGE Foundation and the CBI.

What we do

The current system for secondary school assessment is unsustainable and ill-equipped to meet the various challenges facing young people, our society and our economy in the 21st century.

The Independent Assessment Commission will identify the principles which we believe should underpin an assessment and qualification system fit for the future needs of young people, the economy and society.

We want more for young people in England and more for the future of England as a society and economy where, in different ways, everyone can contribute and everyone can succeed.

The IAC's remit

The commission will convene and hold a series of focus groups and meetings to engage with a range of stakeholders.

We are not anti-exams. But we are against an approach that assesses all young people based only on exams – and anti any system that excludes any young person from the system.

Before publishing a final report and recommendations in October 2021, the commission will produce a series of policy briefings and interim reports.

Topics for focus

The commission will look into several topics relating to the current secondary assessment system and what change could look like.


What's wrong?

What is the rationale for changing the present system? What are the long-term concerns – and those which have been made apparent as a result of the pandemic – with how exams and qualifications are carried out?



What is the vision for an educated citizen in England and what are the characteristics of an assessment and qualification system that might align with that vision?


Student experience.

How might an assessment system be designed in ways that challenge and support every person? What issues are central to address, e.g., social justice, digital poverty, motivation, attitudes to learning, fairness and equity?


How can it be implemented?

What purposes do we expect an assessment system to serve and how can different purposes be aligned to allow them to be achieved without unintended consequences? What can we learn from our current system?


How do others tackle these issues?

How are other countries within and beyond the UK tackling the assessment and qualifications challenge?


From principles to practice.

What planning needs to take place to move from ideas in principle to changes in practice? Who needs to be involved? What processes are most likely to enable meaningful change?

What we've done &
What we're doing.

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