If London were a country, how would it do in PISA?

John Jerrim.

Since 2009, parts of China have been participated in the OECD’s triennial PISA testing.

In 2009 and 2012, Shanghai topped the international rankings and by quite some distance, with 15-year-olds in this Chinese city estimated to be up to two and a half years ahead of their counterparts in England.

Yet China’s participation in PISA also led to controversy. Read more ›

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

PISA: England’s schools segregate by ability more than almost every other country in the world

John Jerrim.

In education systems across the world, children are separated into different groups based upon their academic achievement. This is done in different ways.

Countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland ‘track’ pupils of high and low achievement into different schools (as do parts of England – Kent, for instance – that have retained grammar schools).

Others rely more heavily upon within-school ability grouping of pupils, whether this be setting/streaming, or sitting higher/lower achieving children together within the same class.

A whole host of research has compared countries in how much they segregate higher and lower achieving pupils into different schools. But there has been little work on the extent that different countries group high and low achievers together when they go to the same school.

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Posted in Education policy, Teachers, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Oracy: children’s skills are skewed by deprivation and privilege. How can schools bridge the gap?

Julie Dockrell.

An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has been set up to make Parliament and the public aware of how important the ability to communicate is as a life skill and the impact communication difficulties have on people’s lives. The APPG, which aims to press for increased provision of speech and language therapy, is to gather evidence this month.

Here is some of the research evidence that will be informing their discussions and their final report, due next year.

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Posted in Childhood & early education, Language and literacy, Special educational needs and psychology

Who are the world’s biggest bullshitters? A light-hearted look at PISA data

John Jerrim.

The PISA study is usually used to measure educational achievement across countries.

However, as well as taking a two hour test covering reading, science and mathematics, young people are also asked to complete a background questionnaire.

This covers a wide range of topics, such as self-confidence, life satisfaction, expectations for the future and out-of-school activities. There is hence a whole host of things – outside of educational achievement – that PISA allows us to compare across the world. 

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Posted in Social sciences and social policy, young people

How well do we measure teacher workload?

John Jerrim.

Over the last five years, the Department for Education has taken steps to reduce teacher workload. This was spurred by results from the TALIS 2013 survey which illustrated how teachers in England work longer hours than teachers in most other countries. The government subsequently pledged to “[collect]robust evidence on teacher workload at least every two years”.

But what counts as “robust evidence”? And has the DFE kept this promise? Let’s take a look.

Read more ›
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Posted in Schools, Teachers
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