Nicky Rushton

Nicky Rushton

I have worked on a wide range of projects within the Research Division at Cambridge Assessment. Two of these have been particularly memorable - I was responsible for running the maths research during the GCSE redevelopment work; this involved answering many research questions within a very short space of time. Another memorable project has been the Aspects of Writing project; As part of this, I completed an analysis of candidates’ spelling errors in 2004, 2007 and 2014.

The majority of my recent research has focused on the comparability of examinations, with a focus on comparisons of international education systems. I maintain a database of comparability related research reports, and track the changes made to general qualifications (GCSEs and A Levels) as well as other aspects of the educational system in England. Recently I have also been involved in a project that investigated how examiners write question papers.

My first degree was a BEd from the University of Cambridge, and I spent two years working as a teacher in a first school in Newmarket. In 2003, I joined Cambridge Assessment, initially to write maths questions for an online mathematics product, then working in the team that produces the university admissions tests. Since joining the Research Division in 2009, I have completed my MEd at the Open University.

In my spare time, I like to spend as much time outdoors as possible. At weekends, I can usually be found walking, cycling or sailing. I also sing in the university choir.

Publications

2017

Is the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) in England incongruous in the light of other jurisdictions’ approaches to assessment?
Elliott, G., Rushton, N. and Ireland, J. (2017). Presented at the 18th annual AEA Europe conference, Prague, 9-11 November 2017.
A culture of question writing: How do question writers compose examination questions in an examination paper?
Johnson, M. and Rushton, N. (2017). Presented at the 18th annual AEA Europe conference, Prague, 9-11 November 2017.
Popular perceptions about the comparability of assessments in England. A tension between academia and the mainstream broadcast and print media?
Elliott, G. and Rushton, N. (2017). Presented at the 18th annual AEA Europe conference, Prague, 9-11 November 2017.
Spelling errors in 16-year-olds’ writing
Rushton, N. (2017). Presented at the annual conference of the British Educational Research Association, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, 5-7 September 2017.
Developing a framework for coding English students’ spelling errors
Rushton, N. (2017). Presented at the annual European Conference of Educational Research, University College Copenhagen, Denmark, 22-25 August 2017.

2016

Research Matters Special Issue 4: Aspects of Writing 1980-2014
Elliott, G., Green, S., Constantinou, F., Vitello, S., Chambers, L., Rushton, N., Ireland, J., Bowyer, J. and Beauchamp, D. (2016). Research Matters Special Issue 4: Aspects of Writing 1980-2014.

2015

Do experts’ views of specification demands correspond with established educational taxonomies?
Greatorex, J., Rushton, N., Mehta, S. and Grayson, R. (2015). Do experts’ views of specification demands correspond with established educational taxonomies? Online Educational Research Journal. (Advance online publication).
Teachers’ and employers’ views on the transition from GCSE Mathematics to A level Mathematics or employment

Rushton, N. & Wilson, F. (2015). Teachers’ and employers’ views on the transition from GCSE Mathematics to A level Mathematics or employment. Research Matters: A Cambridge Assessment publication, 20, 21-27.

Mathematics is one of the core GCSE subjects, and students are required to study the subject until the end of Key Stage 4 (KS4), when they are approximately aged 16. There is no requirement for students to take a qualification in Mathematics, but almost all students do. GCSE Mathematics is important because it represents the end of students' compulsory Mathematics learning. The current study aimed to identify the areas of Mathematics that were problematic for students who had just completed GCSE Mathematics. It also aimed to discover whether there was any overlap in the skills that were considered to be problematic as preparation for A level and those considered to be problematic as preparation for employment. It uses responses from a larger survey of teachers and employers to consider three research questions: 1. What areas of Mathematics are GCSE students well/poorly prepared in? 2. What teaching is needed to bring students up to the standard for starting A level Mathematics? 3. What Mathematics training do employers run for school leavers?

Assessment, aim and actuality: insights from teachers in England about the validity of a new language assessment model
Johnson, M., Mehta, S. and Rushton, N. (2015). Pedagogies: An International Journal. 10(2), 128-148.

2014

Teachers’ and employers’ views on the transition from GCSE mathematics to A-level mathematics or employment
Rushton, N. and Wilson, F. (2014) Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) conference, London, 23-25 September 2014
Course struggle, exam stress, or a fear of the unknown? A study of A level students’ assessment preferences and the reasons behind them
Suto, I., Elliott, G., Rushton, N. and Mehta, S. (2014). Course struggle, exam stress, or a fear of the unknown? A study of A level students’ assessment preferences and the reasons behind them. Educational Futures (ejournal of the British Educational Studies Association), 6(2).

2011

Going beyond the syllabus: A study of A level Mathematics teachers and students.
Suto, I., Elliott, G., Rushton, N., and Mehta, S. (2011) Educational Studies.
What form of feedback most motivates students? A study of teachers' perceptions of the Impact of assessment
Rushton, N., Suto, I., Elliott. and Mehta, S. (2011). Paper presented at the AEA-Europe annual conference, Belfast, November 2011.
Comparing specifications in a diverse qualifications system: instrument development
Greatorex, J., Rushton, N., Mehta, S. and Hopkin, R. (2010). Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association annual conference, University of London Institute of Education, September 2011.
Independent research at A level: students' and teachers' experiences
Mehta, S., Suto, I., Elliott, G. and Rushton, N. (2011). Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association annual conference, University of London Institute of Education, September 2011.
Going beyond the syllabus: views from teachers and students of A level mathematics
Suto, I., Elliott, G., Rushton, N. and Mehta, S. (2011). Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association annual conference, University of London Institute of Education, September 2011.
Small is beautiful? An exploration of class size at A level
Rushton, N., Suto, I., Elliott, G. and Mehta, S. (2011). Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association annual conference, University of London Institute of Education, September 2011.
Comparing specifications from diverse qualifications: instrument development
Greatorex, J., Rushton, N., Mehta, S. and Hopkin, R. (2011).  Paper presented at the Journal of Vocational Education and Training International conference, Oxford, July 2011.
Why study Economics? Perspectives from 16 to 19 year old students
Mehta, S., Suto, I., Elliott, G. and Rushton, N. (2013). Paper presented at the International Association for Citizenship, Social and Economics Education annual conference, Bath Spa University, June 2013.
The accuracy of forecast grades for OCR A levels
Gill, T. and Rushton, N. (2011) Statistics Report Series No. 26
Why study economics? Perspectives from 16 to 19 year old students
Mehta, S., Suto, I., Elliott, G. and Rushton, N. (2011) Citizenship, Social and Economics Education

Conference: Questioning Questions

young school girl with her hand in the air to answer a question

What are the best kind of questions to ask? #CamEdLive