What can short standardised tests tell us about the attainment and progress of individual pupils and of schools?

Rebecca Allen.

Measuring changes in pupil attainment is at the heart of our work as education researchers. It is a practice that is also routinely carried out in schools to monitor pupil progress and teaching quality. One means of doing this is through the purchase of standardised tests in core subjects such as maths and English that report a student’s performance relative to a national distribution.

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) regularly uses these standardised tests in their randomised controlled trials. When trials are completed, the data is archived in routinely and matched to administrative exams data as it becomes available. This presents a unique opportunity for independent researchers to analyse the statistical properties of these commercial tests, which will in turn inform trial design, but also has important implications for how they are used in schools. Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized

Improving science participation: Five evidence-based recommendations for policy-makers and funders

Science Capital Team. 

To continue with science post-16, young people must achieve certain levels of understanding and attainment. Crucially, they must also feel that science is a good ‘fit’ for them – that science is ‘for me’.

Drawing on more than five years of research conducted by the Enterprising Science project in classrooms and out-of-school settings, the team have developed five key recommendations for policy-makers and funders who want to broaden and increase young people’s engagement with science. These recommendations are set out in Improving Science Participation, a new publication Read more ›

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Posted in Employment and skills, Evidence-based policy, Further higher and lifelong education, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Our longitudinal future – providing robust evidence for policy across the life course, from newborns right through to older age

ESRC blog

by Alissa Goodman

The ESRC last week published its Longitudinal Studies Strategic Review, a report by an international panel, which was commissioned by the ESRC to review its investment in longitudinal studies.

The panel recognised that, thanks to the ESRC, the UK has a strong and unique mix of cohort and panel studies, which will serve social science and beyond in the decades to come.

What does this mix consist of?

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Posted in Evidence-based policy, Social sciences and social policy

Needs or rights? Revisiting the legacy of the Warnock report on SEND

IOE Events.

Competing against a balmy evening outside, we were delighted to welcome so many people to our debate this week on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and, specifically, the legacy of the 1978 Report of the Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People, otherwise known as the Warnock Report.

The report was hugely significant for how society thought about the education of children with, using the new terminology of the time, ‘special educational needs’ – encouraging these pupils’ inclusion in mainstream schools and pressing for their needs to be met as an entitlement. At the time, its recommendations were radical and, in the words of our first panellist, former Chair in Special Education at the IOE, Klaus Wedell, represented ‘a paradigm shift’. On the report’s 40th anniversary we wanted to reflect on how those recommendations have played out in practice and whether the time is ripe for another enquiry of the same scale and ambition.  On the basis of our panellists’ contributions it would seem that it is – and for a paradigm shift that encompasses all pupils.    Read more ›

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Posted in accountability and inspection, curriculum & assessment, Education policy, IOE debates, Special educational needs and psychology

Rebuilding trust in a context of suspicion: South Africa’s failing education system

Melanie Ehren. 

In his first speech as President, South Africa’s Ramaphosa promised to ‘turn the tide of corruption’, vowing to end the ‘plunder of public resources’ and to ‘put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in our country’s public leaders.

With a new President and the promise of a new era in South African democracy, there may be an opportunity to rebuild trust, accountability and capacity across the country. A new ESRC/DfID-funded study on ‘Accountability, trust and capacity to improve learning outcomes’ led by researchers at University College London aims to do just that.

South Africa has a long history of oppression and apartheid which has led to great inequalities, despite South Africa’s classification as an upper-middle income country Read more ›

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Posted in accountability and inspection, International development
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.


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