A Virtual Special Issue

In the broad field of educational research, there is a common view that education consists of three domains: curriculum, i.e. the content of what is taught, such as the disciplines of knowledge and intellectual skills; pedagogy, i.e. the processes of teaching and learning, such as the role and nature of classroom interaction; assessment, i.e. the methods of evidencing that the learning has occurred, including public examinations. In research about religious education, there has been considerable attention to curriculum, notably in defining the religion(s) and skills to be learnt, and some attention to pedagogy, for example in terms of classroom talk and dialogue; over the years assessment has received somewhat less attention, but is increasingly in the spotlight. This virtual special edition – the first ever in British Journal of Religious Education - takes stock of the past by presenting some of the research and scholarship on assessment, notably including examinations, which has previously been published in this journal (or its antecedent publications) from the 1950s onwards.

View the full Virtual Special Issue Introduction here

This short paper from 1960s argues that examinations were leading to a lack of challenge in the curriculum, suggesting that teachers entered their pupils for papers requiring factual recall, not more complex intellectual tasks.  

This 1970s paper gathers data from groups of teachers to show how they disliked the examination boards’ Christian-centric, Bible-focused exam syllabus, wanting a more evaluative approach. 

This paper is a reflection of the position of RE after the 1988 Education Act, and the National Curriculum.  It set the agenda for subsequent developments.