Informing debate

Informing debate

Woman in audience asking question

Governments should avoid the temptation to “cherry pick and policy borrow” from successful education systems, our Group Director of Assessment Research and Development told a major event in September 2017.

Tim Oates CBE, the architect of the overhaul of the National Curriculum in England, was speaking at the launch of A Cambridge Approach to Improving Education, the result of a broad-based study of educational improvements across a range of jurisdictions. The Cambridge Approach, the latest in a series, is designed to guide thinking on policy formation and help governments take a more comprehensive view of the forces and factors at work in education systems.

Over 1,000 people took part in our flagship conference in autumn 2017 (pictured above) which explored the fundamental role that questions play in education. An engaged and appreciative audience  heard from education experts including Daisy Christodoulou from online engine No More Marking and Professor Bill Lucas, co-chair of a review into how creative thinking might be assessed in the Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests.

Meanwhile, Cambridge Assessment English celebrated the European Day of Languages in September 2017 with a seminar in the European Parliament entitled ‘Multilingualism & Language Diversity’. At the event, co-hosted by three Members of the European Parliament, Cambridge English articulated its belief that multilingualism is a vital asset for individuals, organisations, nations and the world as a whole.

Cambridge English came together with Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing and OET (Occupational English Test) to co-host an international conference in Malaysia which brought together representatives from organisations in Asia, Australasia and Europe to share best practice in assessing healthcare students and professionals.

A new model for science practical assessment advocated by OCR and Cambridge Assessment is working well, according to research published in the Autumn

From Admissions to Employment: Optimising the Healthcare Sector in Asia was held in Penang in November 2017 and focused not only on the recruitment and training of healthcare professionals, but also the future of this ever-changing field.

The Group continues to sponsor the UK All Party Parliamentary China Group, and celebrated the Chinese New Year in February 2018 at an event attended by the Chinese Ambassador, His Excellency Liu Xiaoming. The Ambassador talked about the UK and China working and growing together, with the relationship now classed as ‘Golden Era 2.0’.


The Chinese Ambassador, His Excellent Liu Xiaoming, speaking at an event held by the Cambridge Assessment-sponsored UK All Party Parliamentary China Group.

Our UK exam board OCR brought together key figures from the education world in April 2018 to discuss the changing curriculum in England for 16 to 19-year-olds. Recent years have seen numerous changes to the education landscape in England, and the forum provided the opportunity to hear from figures including Bill Watkin, the Chief Executive Officer of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, Catherine Sezen from the Association of Colleges and Carys Fisher from UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Research published by OCR in autumn 2017 showed that the new model is working well in the UK, with 72 per cent of teachers agreeing or strongly agreeing that the new assessment model was supporting the breadth of practical work.

OCR has also been helping to inform the debate around science practicals in the UK. At the start of the A Level science reform process in the UK, Cambridge Assessment and OCR argued for a change to the practical assessment model, moving away from coursework. Research published by OCR in autumn 2017 showed that the new model is working well in the UK, with 72 per cent of teachers agreeing or strongly agreeing that the new assessment model was supporting the breadth of practical work.


Admissions staff from 12 leading universities met in Cambridge to advise on extending recognition of Cambridge qualifications to North America

Our international exam board also continues to help inform stakeholders in higher education, meeting annually with a council consisting of admissions staff from leading US universities. Twelve institutions make up the group including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University. As well as advising on issues relating to university admissions, the Council also informs the development of Cambridge programmes ensuring they foster the skills needed for higher education.

And in December 2017, Cambridge International held a one-day conference in Dubai which brought together representatives from ministries of education in the Middle East and North Africa region. Sessions explored the use of data in improving educational outcomes, and approaches to embedding change in education systems.

Return to top of page