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A new approach from Cambridge

Francesca Woodward, Global Managing Director for English at Cambridge University Press & Assessment, explains why it was the right time to merge two Cambridge brands

In August of 2021, Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press came together to become a single organisation known as Cambridge University Press & Assessment. By merging these teams, we get the best of both and can offer even better solutions for English learners and teachers worldwide.

Although August was a huge milestone for us, it wasn’t completely new territory. I was previously Chief Executive of Cambridge Assessment English and we had always worked very closely with our colleagues at Cambridge University Press. In fact, documents from our archives reveal we’ve been collaborating as far back as 1858. We shared a long history with the same goal: to help people learn and prove their skills to the world. As a department of Cambridge University, we play an important role in helping to deliver its mission of contributing to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international level of excellence. As part of this we want to give even more people the chance to learn English and achieve their goals, and we can do this better as an integrated English learning and assessment organisation.

A single brand

In April of this year, we launched a forward-thinking approach to our brand for English learning and assessment products, as well as a brand promise, which is: ‘Where your world grows.’ We also introduced a new look and feel for our English products, which is starting to appear in exam centres, schools and institutions across the world. We’re making great strides in updating all major customer interfaces, including our websites, social media communities and other support materials, and this will continue over the next year or so.

Why a new approach?

We launched this new approach to our English brand for several reasons. First, following the merger, we felt it was the right time to bring everything about English together under one identity. But the rationale behind this decision goes much deeper. The world has changed so much over the past two years, and it was clear we needed an identity that helped us look to the future and focus on how we can best serve the needs of our learners and teachers worldwide. We wanted an identity that showed off our rich expertise in language learning and assessment, because we pride ourselves on being able to develop learning experiences that could only come from Cambridge.

We regularly hear hundreds of inspiring learning experiences from teachers and students, and each and every one is unique, but one thing that remains consistent is the impact the Cambridge approach has on people’s lives. In recent projects, we’ve chronicled many of these stories from all over the world and they are truly inspiring.

One that struck a chord with me was that of a social scientist and dancer from Brazil called Sabrina. Sabrina said that learning English at age 15 transformed her life and took her to places she never imagined would be possible.

Learning experiences have to meet the real-life needs of learners wherever they are, and we achieve this by developing accessible products and services that are backed up by world-class research. Our dedicated teams that specialise in language learning, assessment and educational research develop insights that make this happen.

We work on numerous projects that showcase the unique capabilities of Cambridge. For example, over the past 20 years we’ve developed the Cambridge English Corpus, our multi-billion-word evolving collection of spoken and written English. We analyse this unparalleled collection of data, gleaning insights from it to ensure that the language taught in our teaching materials and assessments are guaranteed to be natural, relevant and up to date.

We’ve also developed the Cambridge English Scale, which was built on years of research, and is used to consistently report results for our qualifications and tests. And, of course, we have many products that make the most of our integrated approach to learning and assessment, such as our preparation material that is used all over the world. One particularly exciting development is our on- the-go preparation tool, Test&Train, which has been developed by our assessment and learning experts to help students get exam ready using their mobiles, tablets and laptops.

A welcome change

Our brand launch has been well received by our customers around the world, which gives me great optimism. As a global language, English unlocks a lifetime of experiences and, because language is at the heart of being human, we help people connect and communicate. This gives us a huge responsibility and we’re commited to supporting our learners and teachers around the world. When you consider the opportunity associated with learning a language, it makes our promise of ‘Where your world grows’ so much more powerful and impactful. This makes me especially proud.

Images courtesy of Ian Farrell and Library
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Francesca Woodward
Francesca Woodward
Francesca Woodward is Global Managing Director for English at Cambridge University Press & Assessment.
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