Delivering real benefits
The English Impact Framework provides the structure and foundation for all our impact work. By using the framework, we ensure that our Cambridge English products deliver real benefits by:
- Designing them with positive impact in mind and aligning them to internal and external excellence frameworks.
- Underpinning them with academic research in teaching, learning and assessment.
- Monitoring and evaluating intended impacts and rapidly addressing unintended negative impacts.
- Keeping them fit for purpose and up to date with trends in education and with the needs of our customers.
Our extensive programme of impact research involves proactively collecting impact data which we use as part of a process of continuous improvement. These activities follow the Cambridge English Impact by Design model that we have pioneered and advocated since 1996.
Impact by Design cycle in practice
How can impact studies improve existing products?
Careful analysis of the impact of our products is used to support a cycle of continuous improvement. This research-backed approach is how we improve and revise our existing products to ensure they have the maximum positive impact possible.
For example, research with universities and teachers ahead of the most recent revision of the C1 Advanced exam identified the need for greater focus on academic skills. This led to the introduction of a new reading task which better reflects the kind of tasks students would typically be asked to do at university.
Similarly, research into the changing needs of learners, teachers, and parents supported the revision of the Pre-A1 Starters, A1 Movers, and A2 Flyers exams and the introduction of more detailed feedback on performance. This has helped teachers and parents to better understand the learning needs of students and target teaching accordingly.
Impact domains and areas
The English impact framework has three impact domains covering learning, teaching, and assessment, and each domain is subdivided into a number of impact areas.
We carry out research into all of these impact areas in a variety of contexts. For example: learner motivation, the development of language proficiency and life competencies, and teacher confidence. The focus of our impact inquiry often goes across the three impact domains.
For example, ‘the effects of assessment on language learning and development’ investigates the relationship between assessment and learning, as well as related teaching practices.
We have also developed impact indicators that help us to understand and obtain proof of our impact in the short, medium, and long-term. Using these impact indicators helps us to maintain a consistent and reliable approach to what and how we measure impact.
This generates data that is useful for us to understand how we change the lives of learners and teachers and support the organisations we work with. We also use this data to evaluate the efficacy of our assessments and learning resources and to provide evidence that helps our customers make informed choices.
What do the impact indicators measure?
The impact indicators measure the areas that affect individuals (e.g. learners, teachers, and test takers) and organisations (e.g. schools, test centres, higher education institutes, and employers). For example, the percentage of learners who meet the intended CEFR level at the end of a course. Or in the longer term, those who report a tangible gain that helped them in their future study or work.
How do these indicators measure impact?
How we measure (e.g., surveys, interviews, exam performance data) depends on the indicator. For example, we might investigate the percentage of teachers who report increased self-confidence in their ability to use English in the classroom through a survey; or the number of institutions reporting improvement in teacher confidence over a longer period by interviewing key stakeholders in these institutions at yearly intervals.
Impact research methodology
While impact indicators can reveal broad trends across a range of contexts, impact research studies provide an opportunity to gather more detailed data on learning, teaching, and assessment in their specific contexts. The English Impact Framework is founded on three main inter-related actions, collectively referred to as MER: Measure, Evidence, Report.
How we measure:
- qualitative methods, e.g., interviews, concept, or mind-mapping
- quantitative methods, e.g., surveys, assessment tools
- a range of research design, e.g., case study, mixed methods.
Our impact measurement research design depends on the questions we seek answers for. Here is a sample impact question:
- To what extent has our integrated learning and assessment solution produced the intended impact in the short, medium, and long term?
Our impact evidence is based on data collected from a range of sources.
Impact evidence requires access to data collected from credible sources. For example, automated product statistics, data collection methods described above, research studies.
We analyse the impact data using a range of methods:
- Qualitative methods: e.g. thematic coding, content analysis.
- Quantitative methods: e.g. descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.
We produce detailed research reports at the end of each Impact Study we carry out. The reports are used as part of our process of continuous improvement, and in the design of new learning, teaching, and assessment products.
The full reports are shared with the institutions which work with us on the study. We also publish the reports in our journal Research Notes.
Read examples of our Impact Studies