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A Short History of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM)

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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.



Historical perspective, Evaluation of assessment, Assessment design, Digital assessment

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Research Matters

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Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

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