Global growth

Global growth

Cambridge International Study Programme delegates

Delegates on the Cambridge International Study Programme, run by the Cambridge Assessment Network.

Global growth

At Cambridge Assessment, one of our key strategic ambitions is to increase our impact, reaching many millions more learners. The last year has marked a first step in that journey, being a year of continued growth. In the year covered by this report – August 2018 to July 2019 – we generated revenue of more than £485m, up by over 10 per cent on the previous year.

A key driver of our sustained growth is the continuing success of IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, jointly owned by Cambridge Assessment English, the British Council and IDP:IELTS Australia. IELTS is used by academic institutions, employers and migration services as proof of English language ability. More than 3.75 million IELTS tests were taken this year.

Cambridge English Qualifications also continue to experience significant growth, particularly in primary and secondary schools worldwide. A landmark figure of two million entries for Cambridge English Qualifications was achieved for the first time in 2018–2019, while over 800 new organisations and institutions announced recognition for Cambridge English Qualifications and tests last year, bringing the total to more than 25,000.

The long-term relevance and reputation of Cambridge English’s support for teachers was underlined in September when CELTA – the world’s leading qualification for English language teachers – celebrated its 30th birthday.

Working with Artificial intelligence

We work closely with other departments of Cambridge University to harness the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI). Key developments in this area include Linguaskill, which breaks new ground with automated assessment of listening, speaking, reading and writing to deliver a fast test of English with accurate results. In addition to formal qualifications, AI has also enabled over two million Cambridge English learners to test their written English using the Write & Improve app. The companion app, Speak & Improve (launched in the spring of 2019) has already been used by 9,000 learners wanting to practise their spoken English.

Also recording significant growth this year is the Occupational English Test (OET), an English language test for healthcare professionals managed by Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment. OET’s recognition by both the UK’s General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council has contributed towards a 200 per cent rise in UK demand for OET.

Increase in Cambridge International students

Meanwhile, our international exam board Cambridge Assessment International Education enjoyed solid growth this year. Internationally, there has been a six per cent increase in the number of students taking Cambridge International exams, while exam entries across all Cambridge International programmes rose by four per cent on the previous year.

Teacher with young pupils in classroomThe number of schools teaching Cambridge International programmes is now at a record high, rising by six per cent internationally on the previous year, with a seven per cent growth in demand for Cambridge International A Levels, and international entries for Cambridge IGCSE rising by four per cent.

Growth has been particularly strong in the USA, where entries for Cambridge International exams have increased by 24 per cent since 2017. In the last year, the number of Cambridge schools in the US has grown by nearly 10 per cent, with Cambridge Pathway programmes now being used in elementary, middle and high schools in 32 states.

The year has also seen a significant rise in the number of entries for Cambridge Checkpoint tests, designed to assess the progress of young learners – 10 per cent growth for the Cambridge Primary Checkpoint tests and five per cent for Cambridge Lower Secondary Checkpoint tests.

Meanwhile, Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing also continues to flourish, reporting a 32 per cent growth in revenue compared to 2017–18. A trusted partner for UK and overseas universities for over 15 years, it has a global network of test centres spanning 150 countries.

Successful collaborations

An important milestone in our growth strategy came in June 2019, as together with Cambridge University Press we jointly acquired Durham University’s renowned Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM). CEM is one of the largest and longest established research groups providing assessments for children of all ages, and is used by education professionals in over 70 countries.

Another successful collaboration, Cambridge Exams Publishing, marked seven years of successful operation. This joint initiative between Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press develops official preparation materials for Cambridge English exams, and this year recorded an increase of nearly 17 per cent in net sales.

Also together with Cambridge University Press, in January we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training to provide support for the country’s ambitious education reforms, and especially to improve the effectiveness of English language teaching and the introduction of international qualifications.

This was closely followed, in February, by an MoU between Cambridge Assessment English and Speexx, an intelligent language-learning platform for digital workplaces that combines assessment, learning and continuous performance support. The MoU allows learners to use the Speexx platform to prepare for the new, online Linguaskill Business test from Cambridge English.


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