What Lies At The Heart Of Cambridge International Education?

Five elements lie at the heart of a Cambridge education: international curriculum, teaching and learning, assessment, international recognition and global community

Over the past 20 years, Cambridge International Examinations has gradually, but significantly, shifted its focus beyond high stakes examinations. Examinations remain our core activity, but our educational offering has expanded substantially to embrace the school curriculum as a whole, including support for teachers and assessment for learning. That is why we have changed our name. We are now called Cambridge Assessment International Education (or ‘Cambridge International’ for short).

Our new name shows more clearly that we are part of Cambridge Assessment. As Cambridge Assessment we share the biggest assessment research team in Europe and unrivalled depth of experience in national education systems, international education and English language learning. We are the only exam board that is wholly owned by a world-leading university, the University of Cambridge.

Five elements lie at the heart of a Cambridge education: international curriculum, teaching and learning, assessment, international recognition and global community. We believe that education is most effective when three of these elements – curriculum, teaching and learning, and assessment – are closely aligned.

The Cambridge Pathway brings all five elements together, offering students a clear path for educational success from age 5 to 19.

The Cambridge Pathway

Cambridge Pathway is a new way to describe our programmes and qualifications. Its wide range of subjects and flexible ways to offer them gives schools the chance to shape the curriculum so that it is exciting and relevant to their students. The Cambridge Pathway helps students develop the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to achieve success at school, university and beyond.

At each stage of the Cambridge Pathway, students build on their previous learning. It’s a spiral approach that reinforces what students have learned, while at the same time taking them forward.

The five elements of Cambridge education

  • International curriculum

We have a reputation as the leader in international education, and we support schools with a curriculum that suits their context and that they can adapt to their students’ needs. Our curriculum will stretch, challenge and inspire students of all abilities. It reflects the latest thinking in each subject area, drawn from expert international research and consultation with schools.

  • Teaching and learning

We support the development of Cambridge learners and teachers who are confident, responsible, reflective, innovative and engaged: these are the Cambridge learner and teacher attributes. We encourage teaching practices that actively engage students in their own learning. This approach develops students’ ability to reflect on their learning and become independent learners. Our professional development for teachers helps them improve their performance and practice throughout their careers. We support all of our programmes and qualifications with teaching and learning resources.

  • Assessment

Good assessment is at the heart of a good education. We design our assessments so that they are fair, valid, reliable and practicable. And we know that assessment needs to give students focus, pace and challenge. We take great care to make sure that we assess what we know to be of value – deep subject knowledge, conceptual understanding, and higher-level thinking skills. Our flexible assessment structure helps students develop a strong grasp of each subject as a whole.

  • International recognition

Cambridge students are better prepared for the challenge of university than many of their peers. We regularly consult with universities around the world, including the University of Cambridge and Harvard, to make sure our qualifications help students to do well at university. The Dean of Admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US has mentioned that students who have taken Cambridge qualifications are ready for undergraduate study when they arrive at university because they have the deeper understanding of their subject that they need to thrive in the next stage of their education. Cambridge International AS & A Levels give students an opportunity to focus on the subjects they love, and move their learning on to the next level.

Around the world over 1400 universities recognise our qualifications, including all UK universities, over 550 universities in the US (including all the Ivy League), plus key universities in other major higher education destinations such as Canada, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Germany and the Netherlands.

  • Global community

We believe one of the benefits of being a Cambridge school is belonging to a worldwide education community of 10,000 schools in 160 countries. We value our community of schools, and work with them to make sure our programmes are rigorous, relevant and world class. We organise local, regional and global conferences every year, and we run a busy programme of training and events. Our professional learning communities connect teachers around the world so they can share views, information and resources, and learn from one another.

In India, we have a thriving community of over 400 Cambridge schools. Our representatives in West, North, South and East India work closely with schools to meet local needs, including extending recognition of Cambridge qualifications and organising professional development events.

We are also supporting schools to set up Cambridge School Communities in key cities such as New Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad. These school-led Communities bring principals together to share learning, and give feedback to Cambridge International.

It is through listening to our schools in India that we introduced a March series of exams. This exam series enables students to receive their Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International AS & A Level results in time to meet local college admission deadlines.

Our change of name to Cambridge Assessment International Education marks a new chapter in our history. We are looking forward to continuing to work with Cambridge schools in India, and around the world, to prepare students for life and help them develop a lasting passion for learning.

[Authored by Ruchira Ghosh, Regional Director- South Asia, Cambridge Assessment International Education]

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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