How can research truly inform practice? It takes a lot more than just providing information

Jonathan Sharples. 

The Education Endowment Foundation’s latest evaluation report, the ‘Literacy Octopus‘, provides plenty of food for thought for anyone interested in improving the way research evidence informs practice, not just in education, but across sectors.

This pair of large, multi-armed trials evaluated different ways of engaging schools with a range of evidence-based resources and events. The common focus was on supporting literacy teaching and learning in primary schools.

The findings make it clear that our notion of ‘research use’ needs to extend beyond Read more ›

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Posted in Evidence-based policy, Language and literacy, Leadership and management, Research matters, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Transforming teaching as a career choice: what would be on your wish list?

IOE Events.

Next up in our ‘What if…’ debates series was the matter of the teaching profession: What if… we wanted to transform teaching as a career choice?. To address this question we had union and think tank representatives in the form of Mary Bousted and Jonathan Simons, and international perspectives from Professor Martin Mills of the University of Queensland (and incoming Director of the IOE’s new Centre for Research on Teachers and Teaching) and Lucy Crehan, author of Cleverlands.

That there is a pressing problem with recruitment to and retention in teaching has become all too evident. Recruitment targets for initial teacher training courses have now been missed for five years in a row, while head teachers have been increasingly vocal about Read more ›

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Posted in IOE debates, Leadership and management, Teachers and teaching assistants

Six reasons why Baseline the Sequel will be a harder sell

Alice Bradbury. 

Last week the government announced details of their latest attempt to introduce Baseline Assessment into Reception classrooms in England. As widely reported, this policy will cost £10 million, with the sole aim of producing data on children aged four which can be compared with their test results seven years later. The return of Baseline, after an unsuccessful foray into testing four-year-olds in 2015, is based on the idea that the best way to judge schools is to measure their ‘value added’. The outcome of the Primary Assessment Consultation was that the best place to establish this starting point was in the first weeks of school in Reception.

There is a certain logic to this, and the resultant possible downgrading of Key Stage 1 Sats to non-statutory in 2023 (as they will no longer be needed as a starting point) may be popular. But, the findings from my research on the previous version of Baseline (with Guy Roberts-Holmes), suggest that Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Language and literacy, Teachers and teaching assistants, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Britain’s endless skills problems: why academics and policy wonks need to communicate

Francis Green. 

The OECD and the Institute for Public Policy Research came together this week to launch complementary reports on Britain’s long-term skills problem and what should be done about it. The event unfurled in august surroundings, at the offices of JP Morgan, in the old hall of what used to be the City of London School. Both reports were looking at an uphill task. Britain’s productivity has stagnated for the last decade, while wages have been coming down in real terms. Britain’s skills problems have been around for much longer. The government’s policy for addressing this is embodied in its Industrial Strategy, of which skills policy is one of ten ‘pillars’. This is where schools, FE colleges and universities come in.

The IPPR report identifies three problematic aspects of Britain’s skills system:

  • skills produced are insufficiently valued and utilised in the workplace;
  • the lack of high-quality vocational training and education provision; and
  • a failure to tackle regional and social inequalities.

It is not hard to substantiate these claims. For example, Britain has one of the most Read more ›

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Posted in Employment and skills, Further higher and lifelong education

How similar are the PISA and TIMSS studies?

Christina Swensson

This is the fifth in a series of blogs that delve below the headline findings from the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). This blog investigates the similarities between TIMSS and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), another large-scale study designed to assess pupil achievement across a number of countries. So how do the headline findings from the two studies compare?

PISA and TIMSS Cycles

TIMSS, administered by the IEA, has been carried out every four years since 1995, a total of six study cycles. The OECD started its own large-scale international survey in 2000 and has been running the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) every three years since then, also a total of six study cycles. The two studies do not normally coincide Read more ›

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Posted in International comparisons, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

What does the TIMSS 2015 international encyclopedia tell us about how our curriculum and assessment compare with other countries’?

Tina Isaacs and Christina Swensson.

This is the fourth in a series of blogs that delve below the headline findings from the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).

This blog focuses on what TIMSS can tell us about other countries’ curriculum and assessment systems. It compares information about England, which appeared in the top 10 of three of the four TIMSS assessments areas in 2015, with that of six other high performing jurisdictions – Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan. All of these comparator countries featured in the top 10 across all Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Evidence-based policy, International comparisons, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

‘We’re preparing our army for the last war’: why the academic-vocational divide must fall

IOE Events. 

Vocational education suffers from its second class status – variously seen as a ‘consolation prize’ and ‘for other people’s children’. It deserves better – for its own sake and for the sake of social justice, but also, as the speakers at the IOE’s second ‘What if…’ event this week noted, for the sake of our economy.

As Tony Little, chief academic officer of GEMS Education and former headmaster of Eton, remarked, ‘we’re preparing our army for the last war’; the economy and labour market are changing fast, and young people need a broader education. As evidenced by November’s Budget and Industrial Strategy, the government itself seems to have woken from its slumber on skills, and vocational education’s time has come (again). We have been here before, of course, so how can things be different this time around?

Also responding to the question, What if… we really wanted to overcome the academic-vocational divide? were Read more ›

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Posted in Employment and skills, Further higher and lifelong education, IOE debates
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.


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