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Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing
Administering our tests
Our tests are designed to assess applicants’ potential to succeed on demanding academic courses, or assess their suitability for the workplace.
The rigorous development and review processes detailed below ensure our tests provide accurate, relevant information and are fair to all groups of applicants.
To ensure our tests are appropriate for the intended purpose, we work in close consultation with stakeholders on a test specification, taking into account the requirements of admissions processes, and also those of test-takers.
Test items (questions) are written by trained item writers according to detailed test specifications. All item writers are required to have a background in teaching and learning.
Items are reviewed and edited to ensure they conform to the test specification, are clear and unambiguous, and meet our quality standards.
Where appropriate, test items are pretested with sample groups similar in profile to the actual test-takers. This ensures that items perform as expected.
Tests are assembled from a pool of approved test items. Each version of the test is constructed to reflect the correct level of difficulty and ensure each subject area or skill being assessed is covered.
Our tests are administered in secure, standardised conditions at test centres around the world. This ensures that all test-takers have the same experience and that the security of the test material is maintained.
We run routine statistical analyses after each test session to confirm the quality of our test items and to ensure they have been fair to all groups of test-takers.
Analysing the performance of different test-taker groups on each test item highlights any potential for bias. This is known as differential item functioning (DIF) analysis. For examiner-marked papers, we also run analyses of marker performance to ensure quality and consistency.
To ensure our tests remain fit for purpose, information from statistical analyses and feedback from stakeholder groups feeds into our test format/content review cycle and informs future test design and development.
Find out more about our research processes