Our leadership and teams

Alex Scharaschkin

Alex Scharaschkin
Executive Director of Assessment Research and Innovation

Alex is responsible for setting and maintaining standards in our qualifications, for AQA’s programme of assessment research, and for overseeing assessment innovation in AQA, including the use of digital methods and technologies.

Read Alex’s profile

Sarah Young

Sarah Young
Director of Assessment Research and Innovation Delivery

Sarah leads on the implementation and operationalisation of AQA’s assessment research and innovation strategy. She oversees the delivery of a range of projects and research-led initiatives to develop, prototype, and test new assessment approaches, especially using digital methods. Sarah also provides strategic leadership to the Research and Development, Standards and Awarding, and Analytics and Data Science teams.

Sarah has held previous senior management posts at AQA. As Director of Regulation, she was accountable for AQA’s regulatory activity and led a team responsible for the integrity of AQA’s exams. Prior to this, Sarah was Head of Operations, leading multi-site core delivery teams in the successful planning and delivering of our exam series.

Sarah has undertaken a number of external voluntary roles, including acting as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the National Examination Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN) between 2020 and 2022. She is currently an advisor for the NEBDN Board, providing guidance on regulatory and governance matters.

Research and Development team

Our team supports organisational improvement, contributes to developing innovative practices and products and helps position AQA as a thought leader.

Dr Cesare Aloisi

Dr Cesare Aloisi
Head of Research and Development

Cesare took up the role of Head of Research and Development in January 2021 after joining the research team in 2017.

Prior to this, he worked at the University of Reading on a project analysing student learning trajectories, critical thinking, engagement and wellbeing.

He has a PhD in Education from the University of Durham and an MA in Educational Assessment from University College London. Cesare is a former language teacher and has an interest in statistical modelling and analysis, leadership and management, and the intersection of the two.

Analytics and Data Science

We use our expertise to maximise the value of AQA’s data, informing decisions and providing evidence to underpin our standards and research work.

Jen Grimshaw

Jen Grimshaw
Head of Analytics and Data Science

Jen took up the role of Head of Analytics and Data Science in June 2022 after joining the team in 2020. Prior to joining AQA, Jen worked in the retail sector, most recently with Manchester Airports Group.

Standards and Awarding

We ensure that the standards and outcomes of our awards and assessment processes are fair, consistent and maintain public confidence. We work together with Ofqual and other Awarding Organisations to set standards for the sector.

Will Pointer

Will Pointer
Head of Standards and Awarding

Will took up the role of Head of Standards and Awarding in May 2020. Prior to this he was a senior researcher with a focus on the quality of marking and marking reliability. Will joined AQA in 2010, having graduated with a Masters in Mathematics from the University of Bath, where he initially worked as a Qualification Developer in the GCSE Science department.

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AQA Research Committee

Our Research Committee plays an important role in providing feedback and guidance on some of our key research activities.

We work together with world-leading experts in educational assessment from across the UK and Europe. This helps us to develop our strategic direction and identify topical and emerging research questions.

Dr Ayesha Ahmed

Dr Ayesha Ahmed
Chair of Research Committee

Ayesha is an Associate Teaching Professor in Educational Assessment at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education.

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