Research Matters 36


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • ItemPublished versionMetadata only
    An analysis of the relationship between Secondary Checkpoint and IGCSE results
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-10-23) Gill, Tim
    Secondary Checkpoint assessments are taken by students at the end of the Cambridge Lower Secondary programme (aged 14) in countries around the world. Many students continue with Cambridge after this and take IGCSE exams two years later. Given that there is a high level of coherence between the curricula in the two stages, performance in Secondary Checkpoint should be a good indicator of performance at IGCSE. In this article, I investigate whether there is evidence to support this contention, by calculating correlations between Checkpoint scores and IGCSE grades, across a range of subjects. I also look at whether students in schools offering the Cambridge Lower Secondary programme go on to perform better at IGCSE than schools not offering the programme.
  • ItemPublished versionMetadata only
    Synchronous hybrid teaching: how easy is it for schools to implement?
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-10-23) Constantinou, Filio; Bramley, Tom
    ‘Synchronous hybrid teaching’ (SHT), defined as the concurrent delivery of online and in-person teaching, is an instructional mode employed by many schools during the COVID-19 pandemic to minimise learning loss for students who had to self-isolate at home. Since then, there have been calls for SHT to be retained as an instructional strategy post-pandemic to enable students who would otherwise miss school (e.g., students with certain mobility issues, health conditions and/or family circumstances) to still attend classes. To explore the feasibility of this proposal, this qualitative study drew upon the SHT experiences of primary and secondary teachers in different parts of Europe. The findings indicate that SHT is a demanding mode of instruction, one involving four different types of challenges: co-ordination challenges, administrative challenges, interaction challenges, and engagement challenges. More importantly, they demonstrate that SHT can struggle to consistently provide on-site and remote students with comparable learning opportunities and experiences. Through exposing the challenges involved in SHT, the study identifies directions for improving the quality of SHT in the future. It also calls for SHT employed during the pandemic to be referred to as ‘emergency SHT’ rather than merely as ‘SHT’.
  • ItemPublished versionMetadata only
    The impact of GCSE Maths reform on progression to mathematics post-16
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-10-23) Williamson, Joanna; Vidal Rodeiro, Carmen
    In England, GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) qualifications offered to students aged 14–16 were recently reformed. For mathematics specifically, the new GCSE aimed to be more demanding, provide greater challenge for the most able students, and support progression to post-16 mathematics. However, there have been concerns that the new GCSE could deter students from further education in the subject and, to date, there has been little research on its impact on participation in and learning of mathematics post-16. This research compared progression to and performance in post-16 mathematics pre- and post-GCSE reform and found that, contrary to fears about reduced uptake, progression generally increased following the reform. In particular, the increase was higher among those who achieved top grades in their mathematics GCSE than for students with just a pass. Performance in post-16 mathematics was, in contrast to teacher expectations, lower post-reform.
  • ItemPublished versionMetadata only
    An example of redeveloping checklists to support assessors who check draft exam papers for errors
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-10-23) Vitello, Sylvia; Crisp, Victoria; Ireland, Joanna
    Assessment materials must be checked for errors before they are presented to candidates. Any errors have the potential to reduce validity. For example, in the most extreme cases, an error may turn an otherwise well-designed exam question into one that is impossible to answer. In Cambridge University Press & Assessment, assessment materials are checked by multiple assessment specialists across different stages during assessment development. While human checkers are critical to this process, we must acknowledge that there is ample research showing the shortcomings of being human (e.g., we have cognitive biases, and memory and attentional limitations). It is important to provide assessment checkers with tools that help overcome or mitigate these limitations. This article is about one type of checking tool – checklists. We describe a research-informed, collaborative project to support assessors in performing their checks of exam papers. This project focused on redesigning the instructional, training and task materials provided to assessors. A key part of this was to design checklists for assessors to use when performing their checks. In this article, we focus primarily on the approach that we took for these checklists in order to draw readers’ attention to the complexity that is involved in designing them and to provide a practical example of how research can be used strategically to inform key design decisions.
  • ItemPublished versionMetadata only
    The prevalence and relevance of Natural History assessments in the school curriculum, 1858–2000: a study of the Assessment Archives
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-10-23) Cooke, Gillian
    Natural History has been part of our curriculum since 1858. Not as a single, continuous subject but embedded in many different subjects and qualifications. As OCR prepares to launch a GCSE in Natural History, this article draws on the historical resources of OCR and its predecessor the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate to show the range of natural history type subjects available to students, focusing on those for 16-year-olds. Referencing primary sources available from the Assessment Archives spanning the period from 1858 to 2000, this study reveals some of the qualifications available, as well as the scope and popularity of these subjects and the challenges faced by all those involved.
  • ItemPublished versionMetadata only
    Research Matters 36: Spring 2023
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-10-23) Bramley, Tom
    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.