Rachel Taylor

I graduated in 2003 with a BSc/Psychology from the University of Sheffield, following which I studied part-time for an MRes/Psychology at the University of Manchester. Upon completion of my Masters degree I joined the Centre for Education Research and Practice (CERP) at the Assessment and Qualification Alliance, where I was employed in various Research roles until October 2015. During my career at CERP I was involved in a number of research projects relating to assessment and education; this included an evaluation of online examiner training (now published in the British Journal of Educational Technology), an evaluation of the introduction of Stretch and Challenge at A-level, and a study exploring students’ subject choices at A-level (now published in Research Papers in Education). In November 2015 I took up the position of Research Fellow at the regulatory body, Ofqual, where I work in the standards and comparability team.

I began studying for my DPhil part-time in October 2011, with a focus on exploring the use of early and multiple entry to GCSE mathematics examinations in England and the implications for setting and maintaining examination standards. My research uses mixed methods and contains three main strands: a quantitative analysis of the trends in early entry to GCSE using data from the UK awarding bodies, a qualitative exploration of the strategies and drivers that guide schools’ approaches to early entry (now published in the Oxford Review of Education), and a quantitative analysis of the effects of early and multiple entry on national examination outcomes. I am in the final stages of writing up my thesis and hope to submit next year.

Alongside my thesis I have been recently involved in the international standard setting project, jointly run by AQA, OUCEA, Ofqual and UCL. I co-authored the chapter on the approach to setting examination standards in England, and presented this as a case study at the project symposium hosted at Brasenose College, Oxford, in March 2017.

College: Kellogg