Areas of expertise

Areas of expertise

research matters

We provide a wealth of information ranging from authoritative views on current assessment topics to long term research underpinned by more than 150 years of experience. Our researchers pioneer the latest techniques and evaluate current assessments. Externally funded research is also undertaken for third parties including the regulators in the UK and many ministries overseas.

We conduct and publish authoritative research in order to validate, improve and develop our own assessments and services, and to influence thinking and policy on educational assessment both nationally and internationally.

Our research covers a wide range of themes in order to improve and develop our assessments, qualifications and services.

We have 10 core areas of expertise and you can find out more about each one in the sections below:

Assessment design

Meeting display

We have a strong history of research investigating how best to design assessments and ensure that they measure students’ knowledge, understanding and skills appropriately.

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Evaluation of assessment

apple and orange

An important part of our research involves gathering and analysing evidence to ensure that all aspects of our examination process are as good as they can be.

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Examination statistics

Student on laptop

Topics include investigation of trends in pass rates, patterns of achievement for different groups (for example, males and females), choice of examination subjects and progression through different assessment routes.

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Man at computer

Topics covered include the comparability of computer and paper-based examinations and the development of new techniques for monitoring and improving the validity, reliability and efficiency of assessments.

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Impact of assessment

Students working

Assessments need to be fit for purpose and should not lead to unintended consequences. Our research investigates the impact of assessment within educational contexts; in particular the impact exams and assessments have on those who take them.

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Man reading

Accurate and reliable marking is a cornerstone of valid assessment. Our research in this area ranges from developing new methods for monitoring the accuracy and reliability of markers, to in-depth studies of the psychology of marking. We also undertake research into machine marking.

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Psychology of assessment

Students taking examination

The psychology of assessment is important for many reasons and we investigate a range of topics within in this area. Topics include how assessors’ and candidates’ minds work, their behaviours and how these factors interrelate.

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Research methods

research methods

Research underpins everything that we do. As experts in assessment, we choose, develop and evaluate methods which most effectively assess the objectives of our research.

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Our research focuses on driving continual improvement and the maintenance of high standards. We also research other aspects including curriculum content, attainment and performance.

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Vocational assessment

Student using drill

It is vital that all qualifications are valid, reliable, fair and fit for purpose. Research helps to ensure the quality of qualifications and ensures they are assessed using methods which are both valid and manageable.

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Research Matters

Research Matters is our free biannual publication which allows us to share our assessment research, in a range of fields, with the wider assessment community.

Research Matters 28: Autumn 2019