Why we measure what matters

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Kate Bailey, Managing Director at Cambridge CEM shares the story behind the latest assessment development at CEM.

When CEM was first founded in 1983, our guiding principle was to improve teaching and learning for all children and young people.

This hasn’t changed: CEM’s single-minded motivation over the last 40 years has been to help education professionals measure what matters, to give practitioners the evidence and insight to improve the quality of their teaching and students’ learning, and to improve all students’ chances for positive outcomes and success in later life.

Our confidence in CEM is built on the fundamental belief that evidence matters. It matters for building solid assessments that teachers can trust, and it matters that our assessments can provide powerful insight for learning.

And we are as excited by it as we were 40 years ago.

Assessments built and shaped by teachers for teachers

CEM’s early work with a few hundred students in a handful of schools in the North East of England has grown to delivering assessments to hundreds of thousands of students across the world each year.

A critical key to reaching so many students has been InCAS (Interactive Computerised Assessment System) for children in Primary schools, which was launched in 2002.

In those early days, InCAS was widely adopted by schools and teachers who were largely dissatisfied with the conditions of national testing, which did not give them a reliable, objective, low stakes measure.

InCAS gave teachers something they could trust. It gave them reassurance and supported their decisions.

And, at the time, it felt like a revolution – we gave teachers an assessment that was objective, dependable, trustworthy and, importantly, stable over time so that they could really look at improving standards.

Next generation InCAS - Cambridge Primary Insight

In the 27 years I have spent working at CEM and listening to customers to understand what matters to them, I have met hundreds of teachers who have used and loved the information that InCAS gives them.

It’s an absolute delight to me to know that when we put this insight into the hands of fantastic teachers, we will really transform learning.

Now it’s time to continue that transformation.

Why change?

Since joining the Cambridge family in 2019, we have been reinforcing the foundations of our early assessments and getting the right plans in place to make improvements and we’re really excited now to be able to bring these plans to life.

Since we first developed InCAS, times have changed, the educational landscape has changed. Teachers are now facing different demands. They are confronting different pressures and have different questions to ask the data we give them.

The next generation of InCAS is Cambridge Primary Insight.

Alongside our colleagues across Cambridge, we’ve created a fantastic new assessment, Cambridge Primary Insight, which will still give you the same high-quality assessment you expect from InCAS, but you will see new benefits on a new platform, with expanded reporting capabilities.

We will still be assessing the same core concepts and giving the same robust evidence. Crucially, we will be giving teachers the insight they need in a way that works better for them.

Empowering teachers

CEM’s foundations are built on believing in the evidence and insight that we know is important for later academic success.

Fundamentally, we are here because we want to unlock the potential of the children and the young people that teachers look after in their classrooms.

We know that our insight empowers educators to improve the academic outcomes of their students.

We are here because we want to empower teachers.