A BERA trip down memory lane

A BERA trip down memory lane

Jill from the Cambridge Assessment Network took a trip down memory lane to this year's BERA conference, held at her alma mater the University of Leeds.

My first experience of student life was in Leeds, arriving just after that classic album 'The Who live at Leeds' was recorded there in the student refectory. Born too late.

Jill BERA blog The Who plaque image
This week I returned to my Alma Mater for the British Education Research Association (BERA) conference, and had the chance to walk back down memory lane, or actually up Woodhouse Lane to the massive white tower of the Parkinson Building (pictured right), that looms over student life in the city.
Jill BERA blog Parkinson building image
Much of the campus is very familiar, with its brutalist concrete, its Victorian redbrick and its 30s blocks all apparently sitting comfortably together, softened by trees and gardens and now brightened by 21st century shiny glass and metal.

The BERA conference was held in the concrete lecture theatre block (pictured below), where I remembered the crazy experience of the 'paternoster lifts' – so named as they were like beads on a rosary chain – moving pods which you jumped onto to move from floor to floor. Gone now, thanks to Health & Safety presumably!

Jill BERA blog lecture theatre image
Back in the present day, this year's conference saw a number of my colleagues from Cambridge Assessment's Research Division presenting their research on a range of fascinating subjects: 'Whether the Extended Project Qualification helps students improve their performance in other qualifications' (Tim Gill); 'The study of modern foreign languages in England: uptake in secondary school and progression to Higher Education' (Carmen Vidal Rodeiro); and Lorna Stabler, a graduate trainee from Cambridge International Examinations, presented research on the validity of a performance-based assessment in an Art and Design qualification.

Jill BERA blog Carmen image
On the exhibition stand (pictured above) we had a number of interesting conversations with delegates who had travelled from all over the world to engage with current research. I was there to talk about the Cambridge Assessment Network and our programme of professional development opportunities, and it was fascinating to share thoughts about assessment practice with delegates from the UAE, Pakistan, New Zealand and the USA.

Admittedly, I hadn't travelled quite so far from Cambridge back to Leeds, but debating ideas in the lecture theatre (this time reached more safely via the staircase) definitely gave me a sense of time travelling. Not born too late.

Jill Grimshaw
Network Senior Manager, Cambridge Assessment