Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff, Wales

Participating Systems





Nova Scotia




Int. Confed. of Principals (ICP)


Thought leaders

Graham Donaldson

Mick Waters

Beatriz Pont

Pasi Sahlberg


Themes: Effective assessment, large-scale assessment, deep learning

Other Highlights: Permanent Center for network management; Pasi Sahlberg became an ARC Ambassador.


Reflections on the ARC 2019 summit in Cardiff

Press release for Cardiff

The press release from the Wales summit

The fourth summit was hosted in Cardiff, Wales, at the Hilton Hotel, September 12-15, 2019.


The issues for discussion at this summit were: 1) assessment and responsibility and 2) leadership and system change.


What did we learn about assessment and responsibility?

  1. Responsibility comes before accountability – responsibility to our own integrity, to students and families, to fellow professionals, and to communities and society. Accountability is still necessary, but it is the small remainder that is left once responsibility has been subtracted.
  1. We need to measure what we value, not end up valuing what we can easily measure. What we assess and evaluate should relate to the purposes of school and of education.
  1. Student voice, self and peer assessment are vital for shaping future assessment strategies.
  1. Formative assessment should be paramount. The focus should be on learning and improvement.
  1. Self-evaluation and self-review are important throughout an education system, not just in classrooms.
  1. Too many of us have been working with 20th Century assessment tools in a 21st Century learning environment. Technology offers many possibilities for correcting this but also dangers of flooding teachers and schools with data and recording. We need an ethical and forward-thinking way of using all kinds of data in schools.
  1. Data should inform professional judgement. There are many kinds of data and evidence. Not all of them numerical. Our challenge is to improve professional judgment and make it more consistent through collaborative processes of moderation.


What did we learn about leadership and system improvement?

  1. As responsible leaders, we must model the values and build the relationships that can make the desired changes work.
  1. We need to be effective at planned abandonment – letting go of things that have little or lesser importance in order to make room for higher priority activity.
  1. Implementation is the critical frontier. There are many wonderful policies, but very few are implemented effectively. That is where we need to show responsible leadership.
  1. Building trust is key. It needs to be embedded everywhere through a co-constructed approach and not rely on a single individual or political party -or it will not be sustained. Trust takes time.
  1. Leaders of every kind need to be sensitive to changes in context and adjust their leadership accordingly, without compromising values and beliefs. We need to balance power with love in our leadership.