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Research Matters 15


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  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Research Matters 15: January 2013
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2013-01-01) Green, Sylvia
    Research Matters is a free biannual publication which allows Cambridge University Press & Assessment to share its assessment research, in a range of fields, with the wider assessment community. 
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Using scales of cognitive demand in a validation study of Cambridge International A and AS level Economics
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2013-01-01) Greatorex, Jackie; Shaw, Stuart; Hodson, Phineas; Ireland, Jo
    The research aims to map the cognitive demand of examination questions in A and AS Level economics. To this end we used the CRAS (complexity, resources, abstractness, strategy) framework, an established way of analysing the cognitive demand of examination questions. Six subject experts applied the CRAS framework to selected question papers which included multiple choice, essay and data response items. That is each subject expert rated the level of cognitive demand of each question twice; without reference to the mark scheme and once with reference to the mark scheme. Ratings without the mark scheme indicate how demanding the questions appear. Ratings with the mark scheme indicate the cognitive demands rewarded by the mark scheme. Analysis showed that the demands elicited by the question were similar to those rewarded by the mark scheme, which is evidence of validity. The findings are used to explore using CRAS with different types of items (multiple choice, essay and data response).
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Independent research at A level: Students’ and teachers’ experiences
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2013-01-01) Mehta, Sanjana; Suto, Irenka; Elliott, Gill; Rushton, Nicky
    Our aims were to explore teachers' and students' experiences and perspectives of independent research at A level. The study focused Economics, French and Mathematics. It investigated: (i) the extent to which teachers think research and investigative skills can be developed at A level; (ii) the resources and guidance that students use; and (iii) whether subject-specific differences arise. A questionnaire and follow-on interview methodology was used. 47 Mathematics teachers, 24 Economics teachers and 15 French teachers participated. Additionally, 299 Mathematics students, 228 Economics students and 136 French students took part. About half of the French and Economics teachers were found to assign investigative/research tasks to their students at least once a fortnight. On the other hand, about half of the Mathematics teachers set such tasks less often and a further 40% never set them at all. The frequency with which the teachers set investigation/research tasks as homework/private study showed the same subject-specific differences as the classroom context. The internet was the most frequently listed source that students across all three subjects consulted while engaging in independent research. The interview data shed further light on general and specific internet usage. Overall, the findings explain some of the variation in preparedness of new undergraduates for independent study and research-related tasks at university.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Assessment for Learning in International Contexts (ALIC): understanding values and practices across diverse contexts
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2013-01-01) Shaw, Stuart; Johnson, Martin; Warwick, Paul
    The Assessment for Learning in International Contexts (ALIC) project sought to extend knowledge around teachers' understandings of Assessment for Learning (AfL). Using a modified version of a survey devised by James and Pedder for use with teachers in England, evidence was gathered about the assessment practices that were highly valued by teachers across international contexts (Argentina, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria). The extent of congruence between these values and teachers' reported classroom practices was then explored. In very broad terms, the items most valued by the teachers in this study demonstrate the considerable value placed upon practices linked positively to formative assessment principles and strategies. Certainly it seems that teachers have a particular concern with learning more about student learning and with promoting the development of pupil agency in assessment and learning.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Cambridge Assessment Qualitative Research Methods Reading Group
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2013-01-01) Johnson, Martin
    This article is an update on the status of a research-based reading group that was formed to with the intention of sharing methods-related expertise within the Cambridge Assessement group. Since 2011 a series of Research Division-based reading groups have been organised. The remit of the group was initially to bring together researchers from across the Cambridge Assessment group to look at a variety of different qualitative research methods. The initiative was considered to be a useful way of sharing expertise amongst colleagues as well as being an important opportunity to raise awareness of the ways of using qualitative research methods in Cambridge Assessment's own research.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    21st Century Skills: Ancient, ubiquitous, enigmatic?
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2013-01-01) Suto, Irenka
    The understanding and skills needed to compete in today's global economy are arguably quite different to those upon which 19th and 20th century education systems have traditionally focussed. Life has become much more international, multicultural and inter-connected. Seismic advances have occurred in ICT and in access to it. These have enabled the economies of developed countries, including the UK's, to shift from a basis of material goods and services to one of information and knowledge. The aim of this article is to explore some of the benefits and risks of building pedagogies and curricula around 21st Century skills. I begin by outlining some conceptualisations of 21st Century skills. I then address the question of how their development in young people can best be supported; I describe recent examples of alternative approaches used in the UK and internationally, including extended projects for sixth-form students. I also start to consider the value placed by stakeholders on the summative assessment of 21st Century skills, and finally, the feasibility of such assessment for test developers.