The University of Cambridge and
Over the years the organisation has evolved and been supplemented by fine institutions such as the RSA Examinations Board and the Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations among others. The timeline below gives a brief outline of our history but for more detailed information please view our Archives area.
Cambridge Assessment is the brand name of the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. We are a department of the University of Cambridge and a not-for-profit organisation.
The Cambridge Assessment Group incorporates three major exam boards: University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR) and University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL). In the UK, OCR is the only public examination board that is affiliated to a university.
- The University of Cambridge unveiled a new 'Local Examinations Syndicate'. The Syndicate was established to administer examinations for people who were not members of the University. It also inspected schools, with the aim of raising standards in education.
- The Syndicate began examining overseas in 1864 and this aspect of its work grew quickly.
- Oxford and Cambridge universities, with their experience, formed the Joint Board of Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examination Board for the new public schools.
- The Certificate of Proficiency in English, the Syndicate's first examination in the field of English as a Foreign Language, was introduced.
- First National examinations introduced and Cambridge Locals (Higher, Senior, Junior, Preliminary) began to be replaced by the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate, first in UK then overseas.
- GCE O and A level examinations replaced SC and HSC, again initially for UK candidates and more gradually overseas. During the 1950s we began gradually to develop specific examinations for overseas regions.
- The West African Examinations Council was the first region to complete localisation, a process of training by UCLES to enable regions to set their own exams
- From the mid-1980s, as successive governments in the UK moved to exert greater control over the school curriculum and examinations at ages 16 and 18, the number of English examination boards was reduced by a process of consolidation. Over a period, the Syndicate merged with the Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations, the Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examinations Board, the Royal Society of Arts Examination Board, the Southern Universities Joint Board and the Midland Examining Group.
- Chief Executive John Reddaway accepted a Queen's Award for Export Achievement on behalf of UCLES.
- The Syndicate created a new structure with the establishment of three exam boards: University of Cambridge ESOL, University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and Oxford Cambridge and RSA examinations (OCR).
- The Syndicate adopted 'Cambridge Assessment' as its new name, to provide a focus for its aspiration to become a major world influencer in assessment.
- Cambridge Assessment celebrated its 150th Anniversary. A film of highlights is now available for viewing online.