Welcome to AQi

Bringing together research, insight and ideas on assessment, qualifications and curriculum

Welcome to AQi.

We at AQA believe that educational assessment must meet the demands of economic and social change, driven in part by rapidly changing technologies, while maintaining reliability and public trust.

Navigating this complex environment requires high-quality analysis of the best evidence, and being open to testing diverse ideas and perspectives.

As an education charity, we have created AQi to bring together research and insight, argument and ideas, on assessment and qualifications - because we are acutely aware that high quality curriculum delivery is intimately bound up with excellent assessment.

AQi’s aim is to advance understanding of assessment, and to inform discussion and debate. We want to link research and its application to the real world, in the interests of students and teachers alike.

AQA CEO Colin Hughes Profile Picture
AQA CEO Colin Hughes Profile Signature

Colin Hughes



Comparable Outcomes: Setting the standard?

What is the comparable outcomes framework, how does it underpin grade standards and are there alternatives?Read Moreicon / chart

What role is there for students in assessment and curriculum debate?

Should students and young people be involved in education debates? What value can they bring?

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Data Story

Regional changes in secondary school pupil numbers, 2010-2020

How have secondary school pupil numbers changed over the past decade?

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Data Story

Percentage of FE Leavers in Sustained Positive Destinations, 2013-2018

Assessing regional and local changes to Further Education outcomes, 2013-2018

Levelling Up

Which students take degrees they’re overqualified for?

Could some students be at a more selective university or on a more financially rewarding degree? Stuart Campbell and Gill Wyness, UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, explore.


The 1963 Newsom Report – Looking back, and to the future

The lessons of education policy past for the present day

Data Story

Percentage of 2018/19 A-Level Entries graded A*-C by region

Further insight into the variation of A Level attainment by region


Learning Loss: What is the evidence for extending the School Day?

Amid debate about extending the school day to address Covid disruption, AQi looks at the evidence


Four key ingredients for a high-quality assessment

The top things to consider when writing assessments


Qualifications and Assessments 2021 – Year in Review

After a second summer of exam cancellations, AQi speaks with education leaders to review the year

Data Story

Percentage of 2018/19 A-Level Entries graded A*-B by region

How does the percentage of A-Levels awarded A*-B vary by region?


The complex case of Post-Qualification Admissions

Is technology the key to unlocking ‘post qualification’ reform to university admissions?


How to ensure diversity in English Literature?

How can we achieve a truly diverse curriculum for students of English Literature?


Should students sit fewer GCSEs?

Amid debate about the 'right' number of GCSEs, AQi explores the pros and cons of sitting fewer GCSEs

Data Story

Percentage of 2018/19 A-Level Entries graded A*-A by region

An oversight into the variation of A Level attainment by region

Mental Health

Young Peoples’ Mental Health: Seven Key Facts

Evaluating the link between mental health, Covid-19 and KS4 assessment

Data Story

Provisional Entries into STEM A-Level Subjects, 2020/21

A regional comparison of sex-based differences in student uptake of STEM subjects based on 2020/21 provisional entries data


Four Key Facts for the new Social Mobility Commission

After two years of disruption to examinations, what does the new Social Mobility Commission need to know about qualifications?

Levelling Up

What does levelling up mean for qualifications?

Jonathan Simons of Public First provides his view on the role of qualifications in the Government’s Levelling Up agenda


Comparable Outcomes: Setting the standard?

What is the comparable outcomes framework, how does it underpin grade standards and are there alternatives?

Read Moreicon / chart

How do schools feel about digitising examinations?

Four school leaders give us their views


Accessible for All: How to make assessments fair?

Ruth Johnson, Senior Head of Assessment, examines the challenges in designing fair assessments and how we ensure the stories that assessments provide are the right ones


Digital Assessment Now: A case study

In one part of the UK, digital assessment of the core curriculum is a reality


Functional Skills Qualifications: The first decade

Ten years after they were launched, this briefing looks at the future of Functional Skills Qualifications and the levelling-up agenda


Time to top-up? Rethinking Maths and English after 16

When young people with reformed GCSEs in Maths and English enter the labour market, how much will they remember?


The Power of Public Education Data

Why Massachusetts makes its education data open to all


The theme to which all parties are finally turning their attention

Thoughts from Colin Hughes, AQA CEO, following the party conferences


Digitising a country’s examinations

How Finland moved from paper to digital


Why teacher assessment needs to be carefully assessed

Tom Richmond of EDSK compares notes with the primary sector

International Approaches

Finland: Going against the global trend

The country's success in zigging while others zag poses tough questions

Data Story

Differences by constituency of over 250% in GCSE Maths and English grade 5+results

A graphical demonstration of the educational challenges faced in levelling up


Could comparative judgement replace traditional exam marking?

There are rumblings of a revolution


Singapore: where is the poster child of global education heading now?

We look beyond the international league tables

Data Story

Maths: the UK’s PISA score has risen significantly

Matching the level of Germany, Norway and Finland


Qualification reform in England since 1950

A blast through the past of assessment

Scroll the Timelineicon / map marker
Data Story

258% – Significant differences in the GCSE Maths and English results by Local Education Authority

Explore the data for your LEA


Finland: Educating the whole child

Making equality of opportunity the defining objective of a nation's educational strategy

Data Story

Science: ranked 14th by PISA, the UK is ahead of many European nations

Asian countries score most highly

International Approaches

Singapore: probably the best organised education system in the world

The city state takes a new direction

Vocational Education

Talking to students about T-Levels

What will it take to give T-Levels momentum?


What Next for GCSEs?

The past, present and future of GCSEs

Data Story

Reading: the UK’s PISA score is similar to the US and Australia

But behind Finland, Hong Kong and Singapore

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