Aspects of Writing

Research seminar: Variations in aspects of writing in 16+ English examinations between 1980 and 2014

Speakers:

Professor Debra Myhill, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, University of Exeter

Professor Urzsula Clark, Professor of English and Linguistics and Head of English, Aston University

Sylvia Green, Director, Research Division, Cambridge Assessment 

Gill Elliott, Principal Research Officer, Research Division, Cambridge Assessment

Date: 30 Nov 2016 Venue: British Academy 10 - 11 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AH
Time: 11:00 - 13:30
Type: Seminar Fee: Free of charge

Watch the highlights from the launch of the Variations in aspects of writing in 16+ English examinations between 1980 and 2014 research study

On Wednesday 30 November 2016 our Research Division held a seminar to launch the report of the 2014 phase of Variations in Aspects of Writing in 16+ English Examinations

The unique study, which has generated much debate following publication of previous reports, explores changes in a range of aspects of students’ writing in the context of formal English examinations between 1980 and 2014. The aspects of writing under scrutiny includes spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and the use of paragraphs. Access to a rich corpus of writing from recent decades has afforded Cambridge Assessment researchers an invaluable opportunity to conduct this cross sectional study which provides insights that will interest researchers, teachers and the educational community. 

The seminar was hosted at the British Academy in Central London on the morning of Wednesday 30 November 2016, where the findings were presented, followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion. 

We were delighted that Professor Debra Myhill, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the University of Exeter provided a pre-recorded introduction to the study, and that Professor Urszula Clark, Professor of English and Linguistics and Head of English, at Aston University, agreed to contribute to the seminar in person. 

Agenda

11:00 Welcome from the Chair

Bene't Steinberg, Director, Group Public Affairs, Cambridge Assessment

11:05 Context of the research

Professor Debra Myhill, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, University of Exeter (pre-recorded)

11:15 Presentation of the research findings

Sylvia Green, Director, Research Division, Cambridge Assessment

Gill Elliott, Principal Research Officer, Research Division, Cambridge Assessment

Filio Constantinou, Research Officer, Research Division, Cambridge Assessment

Nicky Rushton, Research Officer, Research Division, Cambridge Assessment

12:25 Guest speaker

Professor Urzsula Clark, Professor of English and Linguistics and Head of English, Aston University 


Followed by discussion and questions

13:25 Closing remarks from the Chair 

Previous reports

This cross sectional study explores changes in a range of aspects of students’ writing in the context of formal English examinations between 1980 and 2014. The previous reports are available to read here:

Aspects of Writing in 16+ English examinations between 1980 and 1994. 1996. Massey, A.; Elliott, G. 

Aspects of Writing in 16+ English examinations between 1980 and 2004. 1996. Massey, A.; Elliott, G.; Johnson, N. 

The study has also led to further analysis:

All the right letters – just not necessarily in the right order. Spelling errors in a sample of GCSE English scripts. 2008. Green, S.; Elliott, G.; Johnson, N.

Aspects of Writing: Beyond an atomistic approach to evaluate qualities of features of writing. 2008. Green, S.; Elliott, G.; Johnson, N. 

You may also be interested to read:

Investigating non-standard English in GCSE level students in England. 2008. Black, B

The seminar was streamed live online from 11:00 - 13:30 and viewers were be able to contribute to the live seminar discussion and still can by using the hashtag #AspectsOfWriting on Twitter.

Related materials

10 - 11 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AH