Psychology of assessment

Psychology of assessment

Students taking examination

We investigate a range of topics within this area, including how assessors’ and candidates’ minds work, their behaviours and how these factors interrelate.

By exploring which cognitive skills candidates use in response to an assessment, and what motivates candidates to achieve success, we can evaluate whether the assessments are working as intended. 

We support developers in targeting assessments at the correct level by looking at what makes assessments difficult or easy. We are also able to help identify the best modes of assessment for different skills by exploring how the mode of assessment (for example, oral/computer test) relates to performance. Finally, in pinpointing how assessors think as they mark/grade, we are able to provide models to underpin the training of new assessors.

Published materials

Related materials

Entitlement to knowledge - a privilege or a right?

Insight

10 March 2014

Over 100 educationalists came to hear Professor Michael Young’s theory of ‘powerful knowledge’ and its relationship with the National Curriculum at a recent event hosted by Cambridge Assessment Network.

International comparisons and education reform

Insight

13 December 2012

In almost every country where we work the dominant political discourse in education is around international comparisons. So what does this mean for the UK?

Using international comparisons to refine the national curriculum

Insight

28 November 2013

To what extent should international comparisons affect a national curriculum? Should we be listening to international evidence or just ignore it?

Lessons from the East

Insight

09 August 2012

The UK’s education system can learn a lot from ‘the East’. However, context is everything and we can’t simply transpose lessons from one culture to another.

Examiner judgement in higher education assessment

Insight

06 November 2013

Speaking at a recent seminar hosted by the Cambridge Assessment Network, Sue Bloxham, Professor of Academic Practice at the University of Cumbria, explored a mismatch between the policy and practice of assessment judgement in higher education.

Learning comes first: shifting the focus from examining to the curriculum

Insight

31 January 2012

What makes a good education? View films and download podcasts from our debate on 31 January 2012.

School-based assessment: prospects and realities in Asian contexts

Insight

03 June 2013

A cultural inheritance in Asia places great importance on examinations and pressure on teachers and students to get good outcomes. We brought together education experts to share practical techniques.

Education Select Committee Inquiry: How should examinations for 15-19 year olds in England be run?

Insight

16 November 2011

We have given evidence to the Committee on the arguments in favour of and against having a range of awarding bodies for academic and applied qualifications, and the merits of alternative arrangements.

Influences on student learning in Asia

Insight

07 March 2013

What does research suggest are the most powerful influences on student learning and what does this mean in Asia?

GCSEs: from modular to linear assessment

Insight

25 August 2011

The removal of modular GCSEs means that students starting a three year course from September 2011 will follow a linear programme of assessment. However, our research reveals that there is in fact justification for both linear and modular assessment routes to coexist.

Videos

Emotional intelligence event highlights (04:13)

Highlights from the 'emotional intelligence' event hosted by Cambridge Assessment and the RSA.

Professor Barry McGaw (04:28)

Professor Barry McGaw speaks at the first Cambridge Assessment conference “A Question of Confidence: Maintaining Trust in National Assessment Systems” in 2005.

Baroness Onora O’Neill (04:42)

Baroness Onora O’Neill – renowned for her BBC Reith Lectures – debated the key issue of trust in the UK assessment system at a conference held to launch the ‘Cambridge Assessment Network’.

Professor Alison Richard (02:02)

Professor Alison Richard speaks at the first Cambridge Assessment conference “A Question of Confidence: Maintaining Trust in National Assessment Systems” in 2005.

Introduction: first Cambridge Assessment conference (01:21)

The conference “A Question of Confidence: Maintaining Trust in National Assessment Systems” took place at Robinson College, Cambridge on 17 October 2005.

Professor Alison Wolf (03:34)

Professor Alison Wolf speaks at the first Cambridge Assessment conference “A Question of Confidence: Maintaining Trust in National Assessment Systems” in 2005.

Dr Nicholas Tate (03:54)

Dr Nicholas Tate speaks at the first Cambridge Assessment conference “A Question of Confidence: Maintaining Trust in National Assessment Systems” in 2005.

Podcasts

Podcast Icon

Seminar: The importance of ideas for sound assessment and high performing education systems (18.2MB)

Paul Newton, Tim Oates and Nick Saville examine the role of ideas – theory, assumptions and values – which, in some cases, are consciously adopted as the basis of specific assessments, and in other cases perform powerful, but unspoken, shaping.

Podcast Icon

Seminar: Consensus; what consensus? (22MB)

Dr Paul Newton (Cambridge Assessment Network) and Stuart Shaw (University of Cambridge International Examinations) present.

Research Matters

Research Matters 22 cover

Research Matters is our free biannual publication which allows us to share our assessment research, in a range of fields, with the wider assessment community.