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Overview

The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) was founded in 1858. Today, it is a world leader in the provision of educational assessment services, with schools and colleges in more than 150 countries following courses leading to Cambridge examinations. Every year, over one million candidates enter for UCLES examinations, making a total of around four million subject entries.

UCLES is dedicated to:

* providing educational assessment services which are relevant, accurate, reliable and cost effective;
* developing clear, efficient administrative procedures and comprehensive support services in order to make the work of centres as straightforward as possible;
* encouraging positive educational experiences and supporting teachers in their efforts to raise the performance of their students to meet the standards required by student union radio our examinations;
* carrying out research and development to ensure that UCLES continues to be recognised as one of the world's leading educational assessment agencies.

Examinations in Britain

In the United Kingdom, UCLES offers a wide range of AS and A level qualifications. These are provided by the Oxford and Cambridge Examinations and Assessment Council – OCEAC – which is a committee of UCLES, established in 1995 following the merger of the former 'Oxford' and 'Oxford and Cambridge' boards with UCLES.

The Midland Examining Group – MEG – is also part of UCLES and accounts for some 30% of the five million GCSE examinations taken in England and Wales each year. As well as conducting GCSE examinations, MEG holds contracts for setting and assessing national tests for younger students in mathematics and science.

International School Examinations

UCLES offers a wide range of international school examinations. The Cambridge GCE O and A Level, School Certificate and Higher School Certificate provide the core of the national school examinations systems in several countries. International General Certificate of Secondary Education used by schools and colleges in over 100 countries is run by UCLES, as is the new Advanced International Certificate of Education.

UCLES assists Ministries of Education in a number of countries to develop fully independent examination systems. Other services include validation of examinations and qualifications, training and consultancy services.

English as a Foreign Language

Qualifications such as the Cambridge First Certificate in English and Certificate of Proficiency in English are widely recognised as an international standard for the assessment of English as a Foreign Language, at all levels from beginner to advanced. UCLES also offers specialist qualifications in English for Business and Trade. UCLES is one of the partners in the Association of Language Testers in Europe which is developing a framework for examinations in different European languages.

The range of Cambridge/RSA Certificates and Diplomas for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language are the most valuable professional qualifications for EFL teaching, both in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world.

Skills Assessment and Vocational Qualifications

UCLES is also responsible for both the Oxford Validation Service which accredits in company training schemes, and the UODLE (University of Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations) which acts as an Awarding Body for NVQs and SVQs - National Vocational Qualifications and Scottish Vocational Qualifications – in a variety of occupational areas.

Administration

The international reputation of Cambridge examinations relies not only on the academic standard and integrity of the examinations but also on the quality of the administrative service that UCLES provides.

UCLES' Administration and Systems Division is responsible for processing the enormous amount of data involved in the administration of examinations throughout the world. Sophisticated statistical processing and an elaborate system of checks and balances are used to ensure that candidates for Cambridge examinations receive results which accurately reflect their true levels of ability and achievement.

Research and Evaluation

UCLES has the largest research operation of any British examining body, and this underpins the quality of UCLES' examinations. The department's work also makes a significant contribution to educational assessment in the UK and throughout the world.

Training and Support

Support for teachers is a priority for UCLES, to help them to prepare candidates for the examinations. Face-to-face training sessions are held in many countries, and UCLES publishes a wide range of materials, including syllabuses, past question papers and marking schemes.