Alastair graduated from the University of Aberdeen with degrees in Chemistry, Education and Psychology. He learned test development
and analysis in the Godfrey Thomson Unit in the University of Edinburgh, before moving in 1990 to the Research Centre for
English and Applied Linguistics in the University of Cambridge. After four years in Aplied Linguistics he was appointed Director
of Research in the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (now Cambridge Assessment). He left there in 2004
to work as an independent consultant and set up CamExam with Ayesha Ahmed in 2007.