Professor Jannette Elwood

Jannette Elwood is Professor of Education and Director of the Doctoral Research Centre in the School of Education at Queen’s University Belfast. She has worked in educational research, teaching and policy in a variety of organisations.

Before moving to Queen’s in 2000, she worked for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) in England where she was responsible for the management and development of key stage 3 national curriculum tests for 14 year olds in England. Prior to joining QCA she was Lecturer in Curriculum and Assessment, Institute of Education, University of London (1994 – 1999) and was Research Officer at ULEAC/ULSEB (1989-94). In 2000, she was appointed to a Chair at Queen’s University, Belfast. She has been a Visiting Scholar at two universities (Bristol, QUT Australia), was recognised as a Fellow of the Association for Educational Assessment-Europe and was Vice President of that Association from 2004-2006.

Jannette is an executive editor of the journal Assessment in Education, is Chair of Assessment and Qualification Alliance’s Research Committee and has recently been appointed to the Ofqual’s Standards Advisory Group. She was Co-Director , with Jo-Anne Baird, of the Centre Research Study (CReSt) 14-19, a research study of the impact of 14-19 educational reforms on schools and colleges (funded by QCDA).

Professor Elwood’s work in association with OUCEA will seek to complement the already excellent work of the centre with her focus on the impact of assessment policy and practice on children and young people. Such a focus will bring a new dimension to the work of the centre as well as contribute to the developing research area within the centre of critical analyses of assessment policy reforms and these are enacted in real contexts. Professor Elwood will work within the centre on dissemination of research, support for doctoral students and promoting the work of the centre internationally.


Professor Elwood’s contribution to the field of educational assessment is widely recognised, especially her work on the social constructions and consequences of tests, examinations and assessment practices, in particular their interaction with gender and their impact on children and young people. Her 2006 publication on the relationship between various forms of assessment, learning theory and gender has had considerable recognition in terms of highlighting the weak theoretical and empirical evidence for claimed links between formative assessment and improved learning outcomes. It was selected for re-print in 2008 by the Open University (Patricia Murphy) for inclusion in a key text on learning and identity.

More recently, she has been generating a new area of research: on the ethics of assessment policy and practice and has presented on this topic nationally and internationally. Her work highlights a number of key themes: the complex impact of assessments upon young people; organisations’ obligations to test-takers; lack of consultation and participation of young people in policy making within the assessment arena; the link between assessment practice and key children’s rights principles. This work has been published in journals such as Research Papers in Education (with Lundy) and public bodies such as examination boards and the qualifications regulator have taken an interest in this new area of her research work as it links to their responsibilities to engage all stakeholders or users (including children and young people) in decision- and policy- making.


  • Elwood J (2012 forthcoming) Qualifications, examinations and assessment: perspectives and views of students in the 14-19 phase on policy and practice, Cambridge Journal of Education.
  • Elwood J and Lundy L (2010) Revisioning assessment through a children’s rights approach: implications for policy, process and practice’, Research Papers in Education, 25: 3, 335 — 353
  • Elwood J (2010), Impact of Assessment on Learner Groups (Boys/Girls), in Penelope Peterson, Eva Baker, Barry McGaw, (Editors), International Encyclopedia of Education,  volume 3,Oxford: Elsevier, pp. 486-491
  • Elwood J (2010) Exploring girls’ relationship to and with achievement: linking assessment, learning, mind and gender, in Jackson, C, Paechter C, and Renold E (2010) (Editors) Girls and education 3-16: continuing concerns, new agendas, London: Open University Press, pp. 38-49.
  • Elwood J (2008) Gender Issues in Testing and Assessment, in Murphy P and Hall K (2008) (Eds) Learning and Practice: Agency and Identities, London: SAGE/Open University, pp. 87-101
  • Elwood, J (2006) Formative Assessment: possibilities, boundaries and limitations, Assessment in Education13(2), pp. 215-232.
  • Elwood J (2005) Gender and Achievement: what have exams got to do with it?, Oxford Review of Education31(3) pp. 373-393.