Educational Research

Assessments as research to empower schools

CEM’s work started as a personal small-scale research project in 1982, driven by the late Carol Taylor Fitz-Gibbon, following a request from a school to explore why their A-Level grades were low across the board.

This research led to the development of Alis (A-Level Information System). The aim of Alis was to help schools better understand the impact of a number of factors on the grades students achieved their by exploring their students’ baseline abilities and identifying what kind of progress they made.

As demand grew, researchers at Newcastle and then Durham University went on to develop the whole range of CEM assessments, making it possible to assess students throughout all phases of their education. The assessments grew as ‘distributed research’ projects with schools who wanted better data to help them understand their student’s exam performance in context, and inform their teaching.

Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press acquired CEM in June 2019. Further research using longitudinal data from CEM assessments over the years is taking place with Cambridge Assessment’s research and development team.

CEM assessments were developed using well-regarded measures including:

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