Cambridge Assessment International Education

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Cambridge Assessment International Education's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Cambridge Assessment International Education is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.cambridgeinternational.org/government

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
20 | PARTNERSHIP FOR CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Viewing school feeding as
part of school health
Another key contribution, in
collaboration with the World Bank,
the World Food Programme and the
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
is rethinking school feeding as a key
element of school health. Analysis
published in the paper “Rethinking
School Feeding” has shown that school
feeding has multiple benefits, including
strong returns for human capital from
health and education, a role as a
social safety net and returns for local
agricultural markets. School health,
including school feeding, is crucial to
the creation of human capital.
The rethinking has contributed to the
extraordinary growth in home-grown
school feeding programmes worldwide
during the last 10 years. For example,
we provide ongoing technical advice
to support the President’s office of
Nigeria in creating a cash-free, local
purchase model to replace the failures
of previous years. This has resulted in
rapid growth: from 1.2 million students
fed in two states in 2016 to one of the
largest domestically funded national
programmes in Africa, feeding 9.5
million children daily in 30 states and
creating 97,000 new jobs for rural
women. With a weekly demand for 6.8
million eggs and 83 tonnes of farmed
fish, among other commodities, it
has also stimulated the local farming
economies. Today, some 360 million
children worldwide benefit from these
programmes daily, and the perception
of school feeding has changed from
simply providing meals to a key
development intervention.
Intervention in the next 7,000
days
We have emerged as a global leader
in working at the interface between
health and education. The third edition
of Disease Control Priorities, supported
by the World Bank and BMGF, explores
the background to this change in
Volume 8: “Child andAdolescent
Health and Development”. The
traditional developmental focus on
investing in the first 1,000 days of
life is now viewed as essential but far
from sufficient. Intervention in the next
7,000 days is especially necessary at
key developmental phases during pre-
puberty, puberty and the major brain
changes of adolescence. For many of
these phases, our work has led the
way in identifying the most cost-
effective interventions.
Despite this progress, however,
work remains to be done. In 2018,
the World Bank published a Human
Capital Index that further emphasised
the need for countries to invest in
the growth and development of their
children. The index shows that while
many rich countries gain some 70 per
cent of their national wealth from the
contributions of their people, for many
poor countries, the contribution is only
40 per cent, showing that in these
countries, both individuals and the
national economy are falling well short
of their potential.
Today, countries are recognising that
there is a crucial need to invest more
in the health and development of their
schoolchildren and adolescents and to
adopt the policies and interventions
that we have spent the last 30
years helping countries to develop
andrefine.
School health,
including
school feeding,
is crucial to the
creation of
human
capital
The Vice President of
Nigeria attends the
launch of the National
Home Grown School
Feeding Programme
21CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION |
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT
Chief Executive Christine Özden
Education provision to more
than 170 countries
Cambridge Assessment International Education provide
education programmes and globally recognised exams to
over 170 countries worldwide, working directly with 27
ministries of education. To make sure their programmes are as
effective as they can be, they adapt each programme according
to the cultural contexts of each nation. Part of the University
of Cambridge, Cambridge Assessment employ 2,500 people
and have an 80-strong research team. Christine Özden, Chief
Executive of the international arm, details their global reach and
the importance of curriculum coherence.
The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the
pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of
excellence. As a department of the university, we work with nations around the
world providing educational services and improving quality in education systems to
create better opportunities for countries, schools and individuals. We have a team
of more than 80 researchers, which makes our research capability the largest of
its kind in Europe. This research strength enables us to help teachers, learners and
governments lead the way in education and for us to evaluate practice and learn
from experience.
Cambridge Assessment International Education is currently working with 27
ministries of education. Our oldest relationship was formed over 100 years ago with
the Mauritius Ministry of Education and Examinations Syndicate, assessing their
secondary school national qualifications and scholarship award. We have supported
Singapore’s Ministry of Education since 1892 with the provision of national
FACTS ABOUT
CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION
»Chief Executive: Christine Özden
»Established in1858
»Based inCambridge, UK
»Services: Providing education
programmes and globally
recognised exams to over 170
countries, as well as working
with ministries of education
on whole-system reform
Cambridge Assessment
International Education
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION
assessments. We support ministries
of education and examination boards
in Namibia, eSwatini, Botswana and
Lesotho by accrediting their own
examinations. Over the last ten years,
we have become actively involved in
supporting ministries of education and
other national education authorities
with education reform initiatives. A
number of important lessons about
what makes effective change have
emerged that we have adopted into
our practice.
Adapting to each national
setting
The main lesson we have learned is
that effective improvement demands
an understanding of complex relations
and interactions within each national
setting. Educational systems are a
complex web of interdependent
parts, and changes in one area will
interact with and influence other parts
of the system. Too-frequent specific
initiatives, for example on curriculum
or assessment reform, fail to achieve
the expected levels of improvement.
There are usually a number of reasons
for this. There is a danger of focusing
too narrowly on one factor without
considering how changes to it will have
effects on other parts of the system.
Local culture and context will have
an enormous impact, and too often
reforms that are seen as successful in
one country are imported into another
without appreciation of important
cultural and contextual differences.
This challenge is not unique to
developing country contexts. Reforms
to the English education system
have suffered from a lack of systems
analysis. One example relates to the
introduction of explicit “assessment
for learning” practices based on
well-researched evidence. It was
believed that this would have a
significant positive effect on student
outcomes. Initial trials reported
disappointing results. It became clear
that one reason for this failure was
the existence of very strong external
accountability measures that dominate
teachers’ practices. There was a lack
of alignment between accountability
measures and the suggested formative
assessment practices. The system
lacked coherence.
The importance of curriculum
coherence
Coherence is one attribute all high-
performing education systems share.
One important dimension of this is
described by Schmidt and Prawat
as “curriculum coherence”. This
refers to the effective alignment
between national curriculum content,
pedagogy, assessment and textbooks
so that they are mutually supportive
and provide appropriate age-related
sequencing. Progression from one
educational stage to the next is
coherent and based on a well-
grounded framework, respecting
the importance of repeated practice
and the development of competence
through embedding skills, knowledge
and understanding in long-term
memory. Students deeply engage with
what is important for them to learn,
and the curriculum is not overloaded
with content.
Modern curricula for
modern students
Effective
improvement
demands an
understanding
of complex
relations and
interactions
within each
setting
23CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION |
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT
Curriculum coherence will only occur
with effective control. Control does
not necessarily mean top-down
management; there are many different
effective models of implementation
respecting local circumstances, but all
have clear governance, active policy
enactment and monitoring. Incentives
and drivers for all those invested
in the system are understood and
consistent with policy aims so that the
educational system as a whole works
in harmony.
In order to achieve this it is critical to
understand and manage the relations
between the various elements in the
system and make the relations, not
just the elements, a deliberate object
of policy. Tim Oates builds on Schmidt
and Prawat’s work by developing
a framework for understanding
the operations and effectiveness
of different systems. Transnational
comparisons of the performance of
education systems identify the critical
role played by control factors and
explanatory factors. Control factors
are amenable to policy action whereas
explanatory factors determine the
contexts in which policy is made but
are more resistant to direct action.
Oates identifies 14 control factors
and six explanatory factors. These
can be used to develop a more
sophisticated understanding of the
education system within its current
context and culture as the basis for
deciding which interventions are likely
to be most effective so that analysis
proceedstoaction.
Michael Young’s description of
“Powerful Knowledge” provides
a valuable re-assertion of the
importance of knowledge within a
subject discipline: counter-intuitive
yet powerful knowledge, from
kinetic energy to the idea of “the
unconscious”, that children are
unlikely to derive from their ordinary
day-to-day experience. Some models
of “competence based curriculum”
overemphasise skills and contexts over
vital, hard won discipline knowledge.
Balance between these needs to be
built into modern curricula.
The big cohort studies and
international surveys help us by
highlighting essential elements of
knowledge and skill which underpin
progression in education and
employment. But as much as these
point to some common fundamentals,
national imperatives and local culture
and context will determine what is best
included in a specific curriculum. While
international comparisons really help
with curriculum design, one curriculum
prescription is not suitable for all.
Another common failure of reform
policy is an absence of evaluation of
impact, carefully combined with fine-
tuning of policy and implementation.
Understandably, political cycles often
demand quick wins, but to avoid these
being fragile or at the expense of long
term gains, international comparisons
suggest that monitoring and fine
tuning is vital for achieving overall
policy aims.
Looking ahead, we will continue
to study this vital analysis to ensure
that around the world, curricula are
designed for the maximum benefit
ofstudents.
We will continue
to study vital
analysis to ensure
that, around the
world, curricula
are designed for
themaximum
benefit of
students
Curriculum coherence
is of the utmost
importance
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION
assessments. We support ministries
of education and examination boards
in Namibia, eSwatini, Botswana and
Lesotho by accrediting their own
examinations. Over the last ten years,
we have become actively involved in
supporting ministries of education and
other national education authorities
with education reform initiatives. A
number of important lessons about
what makes effective change have
emerged that we have adopted into
our practice.
Adapting to each national
setting
The main lesson we have learned is
that effective improvement demands
an understanding of complex relations
and interactions within each national
setting. Educational systems are a
complex web of interdependent
parts, and changes in one area will
interact with and influence other parts
of the system. Too-frequent specific
initiatives, for example on curriculum
or assessment reform, fail to achieve
the expected levels of improvement.
There are usually a number of reasons
for this. There is a danger of focusing
too narrowly on one factor without
considering how changes to it will have
effects on other parts of the system.
Local culture and context will have
an enormous impact, and too often
reforms that are seen as successful in
one country are imported into another
without appreciation of important
cultural and contextual differences.
This challenge is not unique to
developing country contexts. Reforms
to the English education system
have suffered from a lack of systems
analysis. One example relates to the
introduction of explicit “assessment
for learning” practices based on
well-researched evidence. It was
believed that this would have a
significant positive effect on student
outcomes. Initial trials reported
disappointing results. It became clear
that one reason for this failure was
the existence of very strong external
accountability measures that dominate
teachers’ practices. There was a lack
of alignment between accountability
measures and the suggested formative
assessment practices. The system
lacked coherence.
The importance of curriculum
coherence
Coherence is one attribute all high-
performing education systems share.
One important dimension of this is
described by Schmidt and Prawat
as “curriculum coherence”. This
refers to the effective alignment
between national curriculum content,
pedagogy, assessment and textbooks
so that they are mutually supportive
and provide appropriate age-related
sequencing. Progression from one
educational stage to the next is
coherent and based on a well-
grounded framework, respecting
the importance of repeated practice
and the development of competence
through embedding skills, knowledge
and understanding in long-term
memory. Students deeply engage with
what is important for them to learn,
and the curriculum is not overloaded
with content.
Modern curricula for
modern students
Effective
improvement
demands an
understanding
of complex
relations and
interactions
within each
setting
23CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION |
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT
Curriculum coherence will only occur
with effective control. Control does
not necessarily mean top-down
management; there are many different
effective models of implementation
respecting local circumstances, but all
have clear governance, active policy
enactment and monitoring. Incentives
and drivers for all those invested
in the system are understood and
consistent with policy aims so that the
educational system as a whole works
in harmony.
In order to achieve this it is critical to
understand and manage the relations
between the various elements in the
system and make the relations, not
just the elements, a deliberate object
of policy. Tim Oates builds on Schmidt
and Prawat’s work by developing
a framework for understanding
the operations and effectiveness
of different systems. Transnational
comparisons of the performance of
education systems identify the critical
role played by control factors and
explanatory factors. Control factors
are amenable to policy action whereas
explanatory factors determine the
contexts in which policy is made but
are more resistant to direct action.
Oates identifies 14 control factors
and six explanatory factors. These
can be used to develop a more
sophisticated understanding of the
education system within its current
context and culture as the basis for
deciding which interventions are likely
to be most effective so that analysis
proceedstoaction.
Michael Young’s description of
“Powerful Knowledge” provides
a valuable re-assertion of the
importance of knowledge within a
subject discipline: counter-intuitive
yet powerful knowledge, from
kinetic energy to the idea of “the
unconscious”, that children are
unlikely to derive from their ordinary
day-to-day experience. Some models
of “competence based curriculum”
overemphasise skills and contexts over
vital, hard won discipline knowledge.
Balance between these needs to be
built into modern curricula.
The big cohort studies and
international surveys help us by
highlighting essential elements of
knowledge and skill which underpin
progression in education and
employment. But as much as these
point to some common fundamentals,
national imperatives and local culture
and context will determine what is best
included in a specific curriculum. While
international comparisons really help
with curriculum design, one curriculum
prescription is not suitable for all.
Another common failure of reform
policy is an absence of evaluation of
impact, carefully combined with fine-
tuning of policy and implementation.
Understandably, political cycles often
demand quick wins, but to avoid these
being fragile or at the expense of long
term gains, international comparisons
suggest that monitoring and fine
tuning is vital for achieving overall
policy aims.
Looking ahead, we will continue
to study this vital analysis to ensure
that around the world, curricula are
designed for the maximum benefit
ofstudents.
We will continue
to study vital
analysis to ensure
that, around the
world, curricula
are designed for
themaximum
benefit of
students
Curriculum coherence
is of the utmost
importance

www.cambridgeinternational.org/government

This article was sponsored by Cambridge Assessment International Education. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development