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Non-Staff Consultant

Short Description



Parent Sector : Education Sector (ED)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Education

Type of contract : Non Staff

Duration of contract : From 1 to 6 months

Recruitment open to : External candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 06-DEC-2019

UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism

Request for written proposal : Author’s contract


UNESCO is inviting written proposals from individuals for the work assignment described in Annex I.

Your written proposal should comprise:


a) A technical proposal consisting of:

  • an up-to-date curriculum vitae
  • an abstract (300 words) and outline (max 1-page) for the assignment, as well as a proposed submission date of the fully developed paper (3000 words).


b) The amount to be charged for the assignment, which should be quoted in US dollars or in Euros


Your proposal and supporting documents must be in English, French or Spanish.


UNESCO places great emphasis on ensuring that the objectives of the work assignment, as described in the Terms of Reference, are met. Accordingly, in evaluating the proposals for the assignment, attention will focus first and foremost on the technical elements. From those proposals deemed suitable in relation to the criteria set forth in the Terms of Reference, UNESCO shall select the proposal that offers the Organization best value for money.

Your proposal should be submitted by e-mail no later than Friday, 6 December 2019

E-mail proposals should not exceed 5MB.

The e-mail should be addressed to the Education Research and Foresight team:   


Annex 1: Terms of Reference


1. Background


Launched in 2012, the UNESCO Education Research and Foresight (ERF) Working Paper series explores emerging issues in education and development in a world of uncertainty, complexity and contradiction. The series aims to provide insights into both the concepts and principles guiding global education policy, as well as the key commitments of the Education 2030 agenda. The series is designed for a wide audience of education policy and decision makers, academics, advocates and practitioners and is available in English, French, Arabic and Spanish. The papers are consulted extensively and have been cited in various academic journals and policy papers.


As forward-looking pieces, ERF working papers clarify concepts, outline different perspectives, present new research, generate reflection and call for greater dialogue on emerging issues. They are shared for debate through various spaces provided by UNESCO.


2. Research topic: Examinations in the era of the internet 


The ERF Working Papers have focused on issues related to education as a public and common good, the governance of education, privatization in education, public-private partnerships, learning assessment and quality education. A new paper, to be published between April and June 2020, will focus on examinations in the era of the internet.


High-stakes examinations, understood as a specific form of externally-administered, standardized assessment with a direct impact on students’ educational pathways, constitute a central and well-established feature of most national education systems. However, the recent evolution of examinations in primary and secondary education, and particularly their interplay with digitalization, remains very much a question mark. It is difficult to ascertain the extent to which external examination have adapted to and engaged with the digital disruption education has witnessed over the last decade.


In the light of such trends, UNESCO is seeking to commission several background papers, presenting different perspectives (See 4. below). The Education Research and Foresight team will use these papers as the basis for developing a working paper for the series. All authors of the individual background papers will be acknowledged, and involved in the review process.


3. Assignment and deliverables


UNESCO is inviting researchers to submit proposals for a background paper on the theme of examinations in the era of the internet (See 4. below). 


  • Proposals, consisting of an abstract (300 words) and outline (max one-page), timeline and financial proposal, submitted by 6 December 2019.
  • Successful authors informed by 20 December 2019.
  • Fully developed papers of 3000 words will be submitted to UNESCO on agreed date. The paper should follow the rules of the Unesco Style Manual. The papers will be peer-reviewed prior to publication.


4. Topic


The following describe briefly the kind of questions/debates the final ERF working paper aims to address. Kindly use them as a guide for developing your proposal and outline for the background paper.


The use of internet in classroom and/or for learning purposes is perceived as a given across a growing number of education systems. Students now heavily rely on the contents offered by the world wide web for information, learning or leisure. Internet thus shapes the learning experience of students all over the world – and its impact is only expected to grow in the near future.


Mirroring such transformations, a number of assessment initiatives have recently started focusing on student’s knowledge, attitudes and skills regarding the use of the internet. This is true of prominent initiatives such as the International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS). In addition, a number of cross-national and national learning assessments rely today on digital and online media in order to deliver the tests (e.g. Programme for International Student Achievement, PISA). The use of digital technologies in assessment initiatives is seen as a promising venue to increase efficiency in the administration of the tests, as well as to secure greater accuracy in the analysis of the resulting data.


High-stakes examinations, however, have remained largely insulated from these trends. Despite the heterogeneity of test formats, examinations do generally rely on closed environments in which the use of the internet is not allowed. This largely responds to concerns over cheating and standardization difficulties, but also reflects the fact that internet-related skills have only been partially integrated into national curriculums.


The use of the internet in the context of exams is thus rather the exception than the rule. Similarly, the assessment of digital competences, including the use of the internet, is still relatively rare within national examination frameworks.


To explore the various dimensions of the issues related to examinations and the internet, the following questions will be explored:


  • What opportunities, challenges and risks do assessment experts and other education stakeholders associate with the use of internet in the context of examinations?
  • What has motivated experimentation with or use of the internet during external examinations? What lessons can be drawn from these experiences or pilot interventions?
  • How could examination frameworks be redefined to integrate and take advantage of the affordances brought about by the internet? What changes should be introduced at a system level so that examinations could effectively keep pace with advances in digital curriculum, and the greater presence of the internet in the learning experiences of 21st century students?
  • What constitutes desirable internet skills? And how could such competences be measured and incorporated in national tests? Which are the psychometric challenges in assessing such competencies?
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