Impact of assessment

Impact of assessment

Students working

Our research investigates the impact of assessment within educational contexts; in particular the impact exams and assessments have on those who take them. We aim to have positive effects on teaching and learning with positive wash-back into the curriculum and into educational systems. 

Impact is important because the consequences of the results from assessments can be very high stakes, affecting the life chances of those involved. Impact can also affect educational decisions and policies. Our assessments are monitored for quality during their development and when they are operational to check that they are fit for purpose and that they deliver their intended consequences.

Published materials

Related materials

From the 90s to now - How has media coverage of exams changed?

Insight, 08 May 2019

Reflecting on more than 20 years in Public Relations for Cambridge Assessment, Bene't Steinberg charts a spike in newspaper coverage of exams, sparked by ambitious politicians, a fight for university places and an increase in public interest, and also how social media has changed the way journalists report this annual hot topic. 

The Cambridge View on structural and technical issues

Insight, 30 May 2013

The DfE has identified a number of areas where it wishes to make changes to the current GCSEs. Tiering and Grading are amongst the most challenging. Read our views on structural and technical issues.

Entitlement to knowledge - a privilege or a right?

Insight, 10 March 2014

Over 100 educationalists came to hear Professor Michael Young’s theory of ‘powerful knowledge’ and its relationship with the National Curriculum at a recent event hosted by Cambridge Assessment Network.

Raising the game – new 14-16 qualifications in England

Insight, 07 March 2013

Qualification reform plans in England are gathering pace, there have been many changes already and there is therefore a growing demand worldwide for information about what is happening and why. Learn about the Cambridge View.

The Cambridge View on Science

Insight, 07 March 2013

Our vision for Science qualifications in England is to provide an appropriate foundation for those wishing to progress to further Science study, whilst also offering a grounding in the fundamentals of Science for those students who do not continue the subject after 16.

The Cambridge View on Mathematics

Insight, 07 March 2013

Our vision for Maths qualifications for England is to develop a curriculum and assessment model that emphasises the richness and power of Mathematics, is comparable in intellectual rigour to the best in the world, and encourages the continued study of the subject.

The Cambridge View on English

Insight, 07 March 2013

Our vision for English qualifications in England is to develop a curriculum and assessment model that helps young people explore communication, culture and creativity, develop their critical and independent thinking and engage with the richness of our language and literary heritage.


Sharing best practice (2:10)

A powerful lesson on how sharing expertise with others can enhance learning – delegate insights from Cambridge International Study Programme.

Formative Assessment Revisited (03:02)

Tim Oates argues that system issues and distortion in policy processes has severely affected the implementation of Assessment for Learning, and places serious doubt on the idea that 'it has been tried and hasn't worked'.

Teresa's story (3:06)

A previous Cambridge International Study Programme participant, Teresa Castanheira, shares her experiences from the course and the impact it has had on her personal and professional life.

Emotional intelligence event highlights (04:13)

Highlights from the 'emotional intelligence' event hosted by Cambridge Assessment and the RSA.

International education: a view from South Korea (5:32)

Paul Friend, Principal at the North London Collegiate School on Jeju Island, South Korea, and some of his students explain what international education means to them.

Emotional Intelligence (02:56)

Interview with Dr Joanne Emery, Research Officer, about the Cambridge Assessment research on emotional intelligence and whether it can predict exam success.

International education: a view from Switzerland (6:05)

Christian Wölfle, Vice Principal at KV Zürich Business School, talks about the challenges and gains of fostering culturally aware and open future citizens from a vocational school point of view.

Protecting the innocent (11:45)

Tim Oates, Group Director of Assessment Research and Development, argues that the time has come to take a closer look at the precautions we should have in place when major changes to the education system are being planned.

International education: views from around the globe (2:16)

We take a brief journey around the globe to find out what International Education – the theme of the seventh Cambridge Assessment Conference - means to assessment professionals, educationalists, teachers and students around the world.

Dr Nicholas Tate (03:54)

Dr Nicholas Tate speaks at the first Cambridge Assessment conference “A Question of Confidence: Maintaining Trust in National Assessment Systems” in 2005.


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Seminar podcast (30MB)

Speaking at a Network seminar, Cambridge Assessment researchers Beth Black, Chung-Pak Cheung and Tim Gill discussed whether students who take GCSEs early perform better in their chosen examinations.

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Seminar: Developing a model for investigating the impact of assessment (33.4MB)

Developing a model for investigating the impact of assessment within educational contexts by a public examination provider - featuring Dr Nick Saville (Cambridge Assessment English).

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Interview with presenters (12MB)

Cambridge Assessment researchers Beth Black, Chung-Pak Cheung and Tim Gill discuss whether students who take GCSEs early perform better in their chosen examinations, or are they giving up their chance of getting a higher grade?

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Tim Oates at event 'Is 14 the new 16?' (6.5MB)

Tim Oates speaks at our debate on 'Is 14 the new 16?' and says let's not base a system for 14-16 education on 'myths and misunderstandings'.

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Seminar: Researching impact in an educational assessment context (20.8MB)

Dr Hanan Khalifa and Dr Karen Ashton (Cambridge Assessment English) present.

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Seminar: Reviewing the impact of changes in the assessment of GCSEs (27.1MB)

Reviewing the impact of changes in the assessment of GCSEs - Clara Kenyon and Merrick Smith (OCR) - 22 April 2010

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Interview with Dr Nick Saville (17.3MB)

Dr Nick Saville (Cambridge Assessment English) describes a model for investigating the impact of assessment within educational contexts.

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