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Ayesha Ahmed


Associate Teaching Professor 

Senior Member, Hughes Hall

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 767524


  • PhD in Cognitive Developmental Psychology (University of Sussex)
  • BA Psychology and Philosophy (University of Warwick)

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Fellow of Association for Educational Assessment - Europe
  • Chair of Research Advisory Committee for AQA, UK

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Ayesha works as an Associate Teaching Professor in the Psychology, Education and Learning Studies (PELS) group and is currently leading a research project on Assessing Students Participating in Collaborative Group Work. Ayesha has been working in the field of educational assessment since 1997, first at Cambridge Assessment, and then as a freelance consultant before joining the Faculty of Education in 2013. Her main areas of interest are in improving the quality of assessments and in the teaching and assessment of oracy skills.

Ayesha is an Executive Editor and Book Reviews Editor for Assessment in Education:principles, policy and practice. She is a Fellow of the Association for Educational Assessment: Europe, a member of the Research Advisory Group for Ofqual and Acting Chair of the Research Advisory Group for AQA.

Academic Area/Links

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Research Topics

  • Assessment of Collaborative Group Work
  • Assessment of Oracy
  • Validity of assessment
  • Improving the quality of exam questions and mark schemes

Current Research Project(s)

  • Assessing Students Participating in Collaborative Group Work. This project involves exploring the construct of group participation and designing methods for teachers to use to identify and teach these skills. It is a two year project involving Year 10 students and their teachers in Cambridge and Manchester. This project is funded by the AQA Education and is run through Cambridge Enterprise.

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Education Tripos:

  • Psychology in schools, workplaces and beyond
  • Learning and Human Development


Course coordinator for Postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Education: Assessment and Examinations

Course coordinator for Practitioner Professional Development: Transforming Practice (temporary cover)

PhD supervision

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Principal and Recent Publications

Ahmed, A., Howe, C., Major, L., Hennessy, S. Mercer, N., Warwick, P. (2021) Developing a test of reasoning for preadolescents. International journal of Research Method in Education. DOI 10.1080/1743727X.2021.1990880

Kershner, R., Hennessy, S., Wegerif, R. and Ahmed, A. (2020) Research Methods for Educational Dialogue. Bloomsbury. 

Mercer, N., Warwick, P. and Ahmed, A. (2017) An oracy assessment toolkit: Linking research and development in the assessment of students' spoken language skills at age 11-12, Learning and Instruction.

Baird, J., Ahmed, A., Hopfenbeck, T.N.,Brown, C. and Elliott, V. (2013) Research evidence relating to proposals for reform of the GCSE. OUCEA report.

Ahmed, A. and Pollitt, A. (2011) Improving marking quality through a taxonomy of mark schemes. Assessment in Education: principles, policy and practice, Special Issue on Marking.

Ahmed, A. and Pollitt, A. (2010) The Support Model for Interactive Assessment. Assessment in Education: principles, policy and practice 17 (2) 133-167.

Crisp, V., Sweiry, E., Ahmed, A. and Pollitt, A. (2008) Tales of the Expected: The influence of students' expectations on question validity and implications for writing exam questions. Educational Research.50 (1), 95-115

Ahmed, A. and Pollitt., A. (2007) Improving the Quality of contextualised questions: an experimental investigation of focus.  Assessment in Education: principles, policy and practice. 14, 201-233.

Pollitt, A., Ahmed. A, and Crisp, V. (2007) The demands of exam syllabuses and question papers. In Newton, P., Patrick, H., Baird, J., Goldstein, H., and Timms, P., (Eds) Monitoring the Comparability of Examination Standards, QCA

Ahmed, A., and Ruffman, T. The A-not-B Error. In Slater, A. and Muir, D. (Eds) (2000) Infant Development: The Essential Readings. Blackwell.

Duncan, J., Seitz, J.R., Kolodny, J., Bor, D., Herzog, H., Ahmed, A., Newell, F.N., and Emslie, H. (2000) A Neural Basis for General Intelligence. Science 21 July 2000; 289: 457-460

Ahmed, A., and Ruffman, T. (1998) Why Do Infants Make A not B Errors, Yet Show Memory for the Location of the Toy in a Non-Search Task? Developmental Psychology, 34.