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Research Matters 35

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  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Research Matters 35: Spring 2023
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-03-01) 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. 
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Who controls what and how? A comparison of regulation and autonomy in the UK nations' education systems
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-03-01) Kreijkes, Pia; Johnson, Martin
    In this paper we explore the concept of the middle tier in education systems, outlining how it is a crucial element that links high-level education policy to the practices that are carried out in schools. Reflecting on the similarities and differences in the profiles of the middle tiers of the four nations of the United Kingdom (UK), we observe how they are part of a complex educational ecosystem. While noting that there are variations in the profiles of the middle tiers we also highlight how they share some common functions that are key to mediating the way that policy links with schools. Using a four nations comparative approach to analyse the middle tier allows us a more nuanced understanding of how education policy works in general, but also how policy works in each particular national context.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Teachers' and students' views of access arrangements in high stakes examinations
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-03-01) Vidal Rodeiro, Carmen; Macinska, Sywia
    Access arrangements are pre-exam arrangements that aim to remove any barriers that might prevent students with specific needs from accessing the assessment and demonstrating their knowledge and skills. Access arrangements are not intended to change the assessment demand or reduce its validity. Using a survey questionnaire, the present study reports on the views of 258 centres in eight countries around the world regarding teachers' and students' perceptions of access arrangements. The questionnaire included a mixture of closed and open-ended questions covering the following themes: awareness and provision of access arrangements; resources to provide access arrangements; views on access arrangements (including their usefulness, fairness, and perceived effectiveness of use); and overall views on access and inclusion.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Creating Cambridge Learner Profiles: A holistic framework for teacher insights from assessments and evaluations
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-03-01) Suto, Irenka
    In this article we present an evidence-based framework of five interacting areas of teacher insight into educational success. This holistic framework comprises: (i) cognitive skills and capabilities, (ii) cross-curricular knowledge, skills and understanding, (iii) subject domain knowledge, (iv) teaching and learning environment, and (v) personal attributes. We argue that learner performance is highly integrated and researchers seek to understand it by disaggregating it. While this can be done in different ways, our framework is a useful organising instrument. Teachers can use it to combine numerical data from baseline and formative assessments with insights from observations, professional judgements, and discussions with learners, to structure actionable learner profiles and identify complementary teaching strategies.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Assessment in England at a crossroads: which way should we go?
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-03-01) Leech, Tony
    Assessment policy in England is often of public significance. Assessments, especially GCSEs, A levels and their vocational equivalents, have significant stakes for candidates and wider society (including for school accountability and for selection to higher education). Such assessments are frequently critiqued. There has been little major (intended) assessment reform since early 2010s developments under Michael Gove. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has upended previous certainties about assessment. Consequently, a number of reports from educationalists and think tanks into how things might be done differently in the future have been published since 2020. In this article, I overview these reports, explore similarities and differences, and assess the policy changes they recommend. The ideas are explored in relation to four overarching themes: high stakes assessment at 16, the use of online or digital assessment, the number of subjects studied in each phase, and the relationship of academic to vocational study.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    A conceptual approach to validating competence frameworks
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2023-03-01) Child, Simon; Shaw, Stuart
    This article provides a conceptual framework for considering both the theoretical and methodological factors that underpin the successful validation of a competency framework. Drawing on educational assessment literature, this article argues that a valid competency framework relates to an interpretive judgement of the credibility of the claims made. To establish a credible approach to competency framework validation, there is a requirement to align the purposes of the competency framework, the claims developers make concerning the uses of the framework, and evidence collection methods to substantiate or challenge these claims. This article concludes with a template of questions for competency framework developers to consider in determining the range of potential claims to be made concerning their framework, and in understanding competency framework users and contexts.