Enquiry into Testing and Assessment

17 May 2007

Cambridge Assessment has recently submitted evidence to the Education Select Committee to inform its enquiry into the system of Testing and Assessment in UK schools.

The evidence provided by Cambridge Assessment tended to focus on assessment issues. This is central to our organisation's functions and expertise. However, we are anxious to ensure that assessment serves key functions in terms of supporting effective learning (formative functions) and progression (summative functions). Both should be supported by effective assessment.

Cambridge Assessment welcomed the framing of the Committee's terms of reference for the Inquiry, which makes it clear that it intends to treat these two areas as substantially discrete.

Our submission fell into two sections: Firstly our views on the national assessment framework (for children aged 5-14). These are informed by, but not necessarily limited to, the work which we carried out throughout 2006 in partnership with the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and the substantial expertise in the Group of those who have worked on national tests.

The second section is on University Entrance Tests. We have been involved in the development of these for nearly a decade and use a research base that stretches back even further. At first their scope was limited to Cambridge University but over the last four years it has grown to include many other institutions. That they are administered under Cambridge Assessment's auspices (as opposed to those of one of our exam boards) is a reflection of their roots within our research faculty and the non statutory nature of the tests themselves.

It should be noted that evidence was also submitted by Cambridge Assessment's exam boards, OCR and Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). They have looked chiefly at 14-19 qualifications, and their submissions can be found on their respective websites www.ocr.org.uk and www.cie.org.uk (these will open in a new window).

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