Our leadership and teams

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Alex Scharaschkin
Director of Research and Regulation

Alex is responsible for setting and maintaining standards in our qualifications, our programme of assessment research and its dissemination, overseeing regulatory activity and ensuring the integrity of our qualifications through compliance with the highest standards of administration.

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Dr Lena Gray

Dr Lena Gray
Director of Research and Analysis

As Director of Research and Analysis, Lena provides strategic leadership to the research and development, analytics and data science and standards and awarding teams.

She played a key role in a collaborative project with Ofqual, OUCEA and UCL on how standards in national, school-leaving or university entrance examinations are set and maintained in a wide range of jurisdictions around the world.

Prior to joining AQA in 2014, Lena spent many years at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), where she was responsible for the organisation's research, establishing policy, and introducing innovations to qualifications and assessment design.

Lena is an Honorary Norham Fellow of the Department of Education, University of Oxford.

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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.

The position of Head of Analytics and Data Science is currently vacant. Senior analytics managers Daryl Stevens and Jen Grimshaw are acting as interim leaders of the team.

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.

Mr Will Pointer

Mr 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 Committee plays a key 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.

Prof Jo-Anne Baird

Professor Jo-Anne Baird
Chair of our Research Committee

Prof Baird is Director of the Department of Education at the University of Oxford and Professor of Educational Assessment. She was also a previous Head of Research at AQA.

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