Students taking OCR Cambridge Nationals at Hazelwick School, Sussex, England.
Successful adaptation to exam reforms
This year marked a milestone in education in England, with the government’s ambitious reforms to GCSEs, A Levels and AS Levels now all but complete. Our UK exam board OCR has successfully adapted to these reforms, smoothly delivering more than 100 accredited GCSE, AS, A Level and vocational qualifications. This year was also a first in that all of OCR’s reformed GCSEs, graded on the new 9–1 numerical scale, were sat by students.
Indeed this summer alone OCR produced over 650 different exam papers, marking over 500,000 AS and A Level exams, and 850,000 GCSE exams. Particular highlights included its computer science qualifications, with entries for GCSE up by eight per cent, and for A Level up by 17 per cent. Demand has also continued to grow for OCR’s Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals, which are vocational alternatives to GCSE and A Level qualifications. Over 73,000 students achieved a Cambridge National in 2019, up by 62 per cent on 2018, while the number of students gaining Cambridge Technicals has risen by 17 per cent.
OCR’s Functional Skills qualifications underwent reform during the course of the year. Functional Skills qualifications support students in education, work and life by developing confidence and independence through improved English confidence and independence through improved English and maths. OCR conducted extensive research so their new Functional Skills exam papers focused on practical tasks anchored in the real world and maths.
New qualifications and an anniversary
In October Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing celebrated the 15th anniversary of its flagship test BMAT – the BioMedical Admissions Test. BMAT is used by 30 universities in 11 countries to identify suitable candidates for medical, biomedical and dentistry degrees, and its performance this year has been particularly strong. The test has grown by 25 per cent globally, especially in Thailand where adoption by new medical schools has driven an 86 per cent rise in candidate numbers.
In the summer alone, OCR marked over 500,000 AS and A Level exams and 850,000 GCSE exams.
In February 2019, Cambridge Assessment International Education announced the addition of four new subjects – art & design, digital literacy, music and physical education – to its highly regarded Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary programmes. These new subjects provide more opportunities to develop creativity, expression and personal wellbeing while also supporting the development of the Cambridge learner attributes such as confidence working with information and ideas.
For students further along their educational journey, in September 2018 Cambridge International launched the Cambridge International Project Qualification, or Cambridge IPQ. This standalone, project-based qualification is designed to be taken alongside Cambridge International AS & A Levels, to help students prepare for university by developing higher-order thinking skills, as well as improving their ability to research, reflect and communicate.
Providing further opportunities for Cambridge schools to broaden their curricula, HRH The Earl of Wessex announced the news that a partnership between Cambridge International and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award has been extended to Cambridge schools in Malaysia. Cambridge International’s partnership with The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award has already seen the programme successfully launched to Cambridge schools in Indonesia, India, China, South Africa, Spain andEgypt.
Global reach and impact
Cambridge Assessment English is actively supporting national programmes around the world to raise the standard of English in schools. Highlights this year included an agreement with the government of Estonia which will allow students in state schools to gain prestigious international qualifications in English.
An important element in the Cambridge approach is to ensure that the services we offer have positive educational impact. A survey of nearly 6,000 teachers and school leaders in 109 countries found that over 95 per cent considered Cambridge English Qualifications to have a positive impact on learning.
Cambridge Assessment English also reaches out to learners and teachers through social media, including two of its Facebook pages ranking first and third in the world in the education sector, with a combined total of more than 12 million fans, as well as 23 million video views on YouTube and Facebook combined. Last year, its Facebook Live sessions reached eight million users and attracted two million video views.
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