At the start of the 20th century, the assessment system as we know it did not exist. Secondary education and exams were only available to a small group, characterised by social class, age, and gender, rather than ability. Examinations were used by universities and some professional bodies to select candidates.
In 1903, the universities of Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool (later joined by Birmingham and Sheffield) combined to establish the Joint Matriculation Board (JMB), thus following Oxford, Cambridge and London as public examination providers.
From the beginning, the JMB sought to establish a partnership with schools, providing support for teachers and setting up subject committees of teachers and learned societies. In 1992, the JMB merged with the Northern Examining Association to form the Northern Examinations and Assessment Board (NEAB), and in April 2000 a merger with the Associated Examining Board created the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, the largest exam board in England. We are now simply known as AQA.
In 2011, AQA acquired Teachit, an online community where teachers share classroom resources, and Doublestruck (Exampro and Testbase), which enables teachers to access past paper questions to create customised work and provides interactive on-screen assessments.