Research Matters issue 7 is now available - the biannual publication which allows Cambridge Assessment to share assessment research in a range of fields with the wider assessment community.
Note from the editor, Sylvia Green Director of Research:
Most of the articles in this issue report on research that was presented at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and/or the International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA) conferences during the autumn of 2008. In the first article Sylvia Green summarises the two keynote presentations from the IAEA 2008 conference. In different ways they look to the future of assessment. Professor Robert Mislevy focussed on the implications of expertise research in the context of computer based testing and task design while Professor Dylan Wiliam explored the meanings of educational assessment and the challenges faced in the design of future systems.
The second article from Raikes, Scorey and Shiell explores a method to enable a greater range and number of educational professionals to contribute to decisions on grade boundaries. The research reported by Greatorex and Nádas considered whether using ‘think aloud’ methods to investigate assessment judgements compromises the authenticity of the thought processes involved. This is a methodological concern that has been expressed and debated widely and their work adds to this field of knowledge with encouraging results. The aim of the research on emotional intelligence by Vidal Rodeiro, Bell and Emery was to investigate whether relationships exist between the affective domain and progress in school. The Evaluation and Psychometrics team marked Cambridge Assessment’s 150th anniversary by looking back at question papers over the years. The project is summarised in ‘Assessment instruments over time’. Elliott and Johnson’s article provides a detailed analysis of the nature of the spelling errors identified in the ‘Aspects of writing’ project. The aim was to establish whether certain spelling errors were particularly common and how they related to spelling conventions, as taught in schools.
In the first of the articles from OCR and Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) Gray and Shaw attempt to demystify the UMS employed in the examination system. They discuss some of the practical challenges posed by the calculation of grades for unitised specifications. The second article, from Shaw, outlines the CIE research agenda from routine operational procedures to more full-scale experimental investigations. Statistical reports are listed for information and are based on the annual national – level examination databases for pupils in England.