Stephen Ives has been on an incredible journey in the world of assessment. Having spent over 12 years teaching English to adults both in the UK and abroad after completing his Cambridge DELTA qualification, Stephen has gone on to support the implementation of assessment processes across the globe. Here, Stephen discusses how completing CPD training with Cambridge Assessment Network is supporting his career development.
“As my career progressed, I gradually transitioned into syllabus and assessment design,” said Stephen. “In 2015, I started working in the UAE, and as part of my role, I started writing English programmes for the government. A large part of this responsibility was using my expertise to overhaul the vocational curriculum. During this time, I was tasked with designing, delivering and implementing cross-campus English language assessments and programmes. From my experience in the UAE, I went on to work for higher education company QA. As part of my position at QA Education, I would give day-to-day assessments online for undergraduate and postgraduate applicants and universities.”
In June 2022, with a wealth of assessment experience under his belt, Stephen joined Cambridge University Press & Assessment as an Assistant Assessment Manager.
“In my current role, I’m accountable for the production of our international assessments at all points along the assessment cycle, ensuring that products meet the highest industry standards and are fit for purpose. My main areas of focus in my current position are primary and lower secondary science and humanities. I’m hired as an assessment expert, so it’s important that I continue to develop my existing assessment knowledge and skillset.”
The perfect CPD opportunity
After joining Cambridge, Stephen sought to grow his already impressive assessment knowledge by accessing some of the courses offered both internally and externally across the organisation.
“After starting my new role, I spoke to my manager about what opportunities for development I could take. Fundamentally, I wanted to do some training as quickly as possible, as I knew there was a fantastic array of knowledge within the organisation. From my career, I already possessed great experience in assessment, but I knew there would still be opportunities at Cambridge University Press & Assessment to build on my prior knowledge.
From my career, I already possessed great experience in assessment, but I knew there would still be opportunities at Cambridge University Press & Assessment to build on my prior knowledge."
After looking into a range of different courses from within the organisation, Stephen decided that Cambridge Assessment Network’s course A101: Introducing the Principles of Assessment was the perfect starting point for his CPD.
A flexible way to study
A101: Introducing the Principles of Assessment is a CPD-accredited online course designed to improve assessment knowledge, challenge assumptions, and make an impact on day-to-day practice. For his training, Stephen opted for the self-study route of the course.
“I could have signed up for any of the Cambridge Assessment Network courses, they all would have built on my knowledge in some way. However, I really liked the flexitime option offered with A101 self-study. At the time, a lot of my colleagues were enjoying taking the monitored version of the course. Although, I knew as I was starting a new role that the self-study route would fit perfectly with my work life.
A101 is so applicable to my current position, and it has added so much value to what I’m doing. I did have prior knowledge about some of the topics covered in the course. However, subject areas addressed in the second half of the course such as standardisation, accessibility and bias really opened my eyes to some of the steps I could take to enhance my practice.”
I really liked the flexitime option offered with A101 self-study. At the time, a lot of my colleagues were enjoying taking the monitored version of the course. Although, I knew as I was starting a new role that the self-study route would fit perfectly with my work life. A101 is so applicable to my current position, and it has added so much value to what I’m doing.”
“The self-study format is very clear and practical. Being able to log on when you want to is a great option, and the flexibility offered makes completing the content easy. I tended to log on and do a couple of exercises when it fitted around my schedule. This led to me doing about four to five hours a week over a six-week period to finish the course.
To be honest, I was very keen to carry on each week as I found the range of subject matter and activities so engaging. Receiving immediate feedback throughout the course was also extremely useful as it allowed me to compare my answers to model examples which supported my personal reflection.”
“I would say the biggest highlight for me was the standardisation and comparability units in the course. I had never really thought about how qualifications compare with each other in the assessment space, as in the past I would usually specialise in one particular area in the assessment landscape. It was certainly thought-provoking, and it made me think about the assessments we create at Cambridge, and what I can do to make them even more impactful.”
A lasting Impact
“A101 has really made me consider how I can take some of the course highlights to further my practice. For instance, how can I do more to compare certain assessments which have similarities such as science and maths? In my mind, the overview of the principles of assessment, in A101 self-study, opens your eyes to new avenues you can explore to make insightful changes in your role.
With such a positive experience from completing A101 self-study, Stephen is not done with accessing Cambridge Assessment Networks CPD accredited courses. In fact, since completing A101, Stephen has attended the online seminar Digital assessment: drivers, benefits, barriers and challenges, and he has recently enrolled in an additional course Question writing for effective assessment."
“I think that the variety of courses Cambridge Assessment Network has to offer is exceptional. Through their training, there’s a great range of options for every level of assessment experience. I recently enrolled in their digital assessment course as I find it such an interesting topic. For instance, what are the perceived timelines from experts on such a hugely developing area? From my career experience, I know many stakeholders are keen to adapt to this thinking, and there’s an expectancy that you should be considering digital assessment in your overarching strategy.”
“This digital assessment training fits in well with one of my big future goals on how to incorporate more technology into our assessment offering. This is going to take a lot of research and work on the ground in the regions we operate in, but it’s a big focus for our growth. Personally, I want to expand my portfolio of assessment specialisms. I’m currently focusing on science and humanities, but I want to do even more with my role at Cambridge. I know that accessing courses from Cambridge Assessment Network will support this development.”
“I think A101 touches on the fundamentals of what we should know at Cambridge. Across the board no matter your prior experience it’s worth your time. It’s the fundamentals of assessment, and it’s the knowledge we should all share as an organisation.”
“I would recommend A101 self-study to anyone externally or internally who is interested in assessment - it’s a great resource. It’s practical, and yet not overly demanding. Depending on your experience there are areas you can really dive into, and areas you can move on from more quickly if you have covered the content before – although there’s value in all the units. However, if you are new to assessment, you should spend time on each aspect of the course as it offers the perfect overview of the key principles you need to consider to be successful in the sector.”
If you are looking to develop your knowledge of assessment, check out all the latest opportunities from Cambridge Assessment Network.