The making of Testbase
Testbase was formed by two teachers who, even in the early 1990s, realised that harnessing technology would make teaching and assessing much easier. They developed the first question bank used in schools so that teachers could dispense with filing cabinets of past papers, scissors and glue! GCSE and A-level databases for maths and sciences were soon followed by the National Curriculum Test (SATs) questions for English, Maths and Science.
In 1999 Testbase CD-ROMs were manufactured and circulated by QCA to schools inviting them to purchase the licence code for access.
In 2017 Testbase is online, completely updated and trusted by over 12,000 schools.
Whilst we continue to innovate and grow, we always ensure that the needs of teachers and education come first.
By teachers for teachers
Our team of assessment specialists draws upon a wide range of experience, bringing nationally and internationally recognised best practice to test development in consultation with practising teachers.
Unlike a business which sells products to teachers and distributes profits among shareholders, Testbase revenues are ploughed back into education.
“Schools and teachers have been in the driving seat, guiding Testbase developments, for over 20 years”
Meet the Education and Assessment Team
I taught science and maths for a couple of years before establishing Exampro and Testbase – it was just a hobby while I focused on my young family, who now have their own families. Starting a business means you have to do a bit of everything; I learnt a great deal about how children were assessed, from KS1 through to A-level, across a wide range of subjects. From the beginning, my aim has been to ensure that we utilise technology and authoritative content to support teachers and give them flexible tools to meet the needs of every student.
Head of Assessment Development
I taught science for a few years in a secondary school in south western Sydney. From there I started writing questions for the Australian Schools’ Science Competition. That led to a permanent role at the Educational Testing Centre based at University of New South Wales, writing and compiling the competition papers as well as a number of government sponsored state assessments.
After a move to the UK in 2000, I was appointed to work on the national curriculum tests in KS2 science at NFER and subsequently on the KS3 papers, shortly before they were stopped. In 2009, I moved to the QCDA / STA as Head of Test Development Research, responsible for working with a team of highly professional test developers to produce the national curriculum tests at key stages 1 and 2 as well as the professional skills tests for potential teachers. During my time at STA, I oversaw the introduction of tests for the new national curriculum in 2016. This included: defining what was to be assessed, making it explicit in the test frameworks, ensuring that the tests met the specification then producing two sets of sample materials for the new assessments.
In 2016, I took up the post of Head of Assessment Development at Testbase.
During the course of my career in assessment, I have been keen to ensure that all the assessments are valid; they assess what they purport to assess and the outcomes of the assessment are appropriate for the stated purposes.
Assessment Resources Developer – English and MFL lead
I joined Exampro and Testbase in 2016 after four years of teaching English in comprehensive and independent schools. During this time I became 2 i/c in English and was involved in committees and projects designed to improve the teaching and learning experience for both teachers and students. I found this aspect of the job particularly rewarding. In my current role , I am able to work with many people, including examiners, assessment writers and teachers, to develop resources and tools that are really useful for schools. It’s great to feel that I am supporting the amazing people on the front line of education.
Test Development Manager
My passion for education comes from a desire to help build a better society to safeguard the future. I love that ‘lightbulb moment’ when a child really gets something. Before working for Testbase and Exampro, I was a year 3 primary school teacher in Eastbourne. Before I became a teacher, I worked for QCA as test development manager for KS2 mathematics so I have been on both sides of the fence. I currently develop assessments – writing, trialling, and selecting questions and test material.
I studied English Literature at university whilst working as a children’s bookseller at Ottakar’s/Waterstones and later became Children’s Regional Manager. During this time, I regularly visited schools with educational workshops and author events and established a young adult reading group. I loved the side of my job where I could support children in their reading development and promote a passion for books.
I then took a slight career detour and worked for the Police for eight years, first as a 999 Operator and then as an Intelligence Analyst. I wanted to get back into a more educational role whilst utilising my analytical skills; I joined Testbase in 2016 to train as a test developer, which fitted the bill perfectly! I am very pleased to be part of an assessment team that strives for excellence, with tests that are valid and reliable, whilst catering for the needs of teachers and pupils.
After teaching A Level Philosophy, Religious Studies and Critical Thinking for ten years, I decided to move into assessment and took a test development role at Testbase and Exampro in 2016. During my time as a teacher, I also worked as a senior examiner, lead assessment writer and specification developer for AQA; this experience has helped me in my current role, developing question papers and mark schemes for key stage 1 and 2 optional and progress tests. I am also interested in assessment theory and in the assessment of project-based qualifications.