Research Matters 37

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    Exploring speededness in pre-reform GCSEs (2009 to 2016)
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2024-02-07) Walland, Emma
    GCSE examinations (taken by students aged 16 years in England) are not intended to be speeded (i.e. to be partly a test of how quickly students can answer questions). However, there has been little research exploring this. The aim of this research was to explore the speededness of past GCSE written examinations, using only the data from scored responses to items from a sample of 340 GCSE components. Speededness was calculated as the average (mean) percentage marks lost from the longest string of unanswered items at the end of each student’s examination paper. The potential impact of student ability on examination completion patterns was taken into account. The data suggested that most GCSEs analysed were unlikely to have been speeded. This method of exploring the speededness of exams using only scored responses has potential (although there are limitations), and it can flag potentially problematic components for further investigation.
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    Does ChatGPT make the grade?
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2024-02-07) Brady, Jude; Kuvalja, Martina; Rodrigues, Alison; Hughes, Sarah
    This study explores undergraduate students’ use of ChatGPT when writing essays. Three students were tasked with writing two essays each for a coursework component for a Cambridge International qualification facilitated by access to ChatGPT. After writing the essays, they participated in semi-structured interviews about their experiences of using the technology. Researchers compared the transcript of the chatlog between the students and ChatGPT with the submitted essays. Analysis showed that the students relied on ChatGPT outputs to different extents, although they followed a similar process of engagement. The students shared their misgivings and points of appreciation for the technology.
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    A Short History of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM)
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2024-02-07) Jellis, Chris
    The Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) based in the North of England, recently celebrated its 40th birthday. Arising from an evaluation project at Newcastle University, and a subsequent move to Durham University, it rapidly grew in scope and influence, developing a series of highly regarded school assessments. For a relatively small organisation, its influence was seen across the world, resulting in outreach centres in New Zealand, Australia, and Hong Kong. Since being acquired by Cambridge University Press & Assessment in 2019, it has established itself in a unique role within the wider Cambridge organisation due mainly to its development of computer adaptive assessments for use in schools. This article documents the rise of CEM, from its early successes to its adoption of new ideas in educational assessment and supporting technology until the present day. However, CEM’s development was not without its controversies, and these too make fascinating reading when set against the background of 40 years of ever changing educational policies.
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    How do approaches to curriculum mapping affect comparability claims? An analysis of mathematics curriculum content across two educational jurisdictions
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2024-02-07) Rushton, Nicky; Majewska, Dominika; Shaw, Stuart
    Curriculum mapping is a comparability method that facilitates comparisons of content within multiple settings (usually multiple jurisdictions or specifications) and enables claims to be made about those curriculums/jurisdictions. Although curriculum maps have been published, there is little academic literature about the process of constructing and using them. Our study extends the literature by considering the different types of comparisons that can be made from curriculum maps: content coverage, placement, depth, and breadth. We also consider how these comparisons are affected by structural differences in the curricula or using a sub-set of the content. We use our mapping of mathematics in the US Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the national curriculum in England to explore this. The CCSS for mathematical practice are common to all grades; we mapped these standards against the content for individual years in the national curriculum. The CCSS for mathematical content are set out by grade; we mapped a subset of this content to the national curriculum. Our mapping shows that it is possible to map curricula and make meaningful comparisons despite structural differences and content limitations. However, this affected the types of comparisons that we could carry out and the claims that we could make.
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    Research Matters 37: Spring 2024
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2024-02-07) Bramley, Tom; 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. 
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    Extended Reality (XR) in Mathematics Assessment: A Pedagogical Vision
    (Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, 2024-02-07) Li, Xinyue
    Extended reality (XR) – encompassing virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) – emerges as a potential transformative tool in educational realms. This article explores the potential of XR in facilitating mathematics assessments; it proposes a list of mathematical topics that could be effectively mediated by XR’s immersive and interactive features. Additionally, it discusses some major challenges which could be barriers to the widespread adoption of XR in educational contexts and sets out a research agenda for further investigation.