Does enjoyment go down as achievement goes up? Findings from TIMSS on how pupil attitudes to maths and science have changed over 20 years

Toby Greany. 

When the report on the 2015 International Trends in Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) was launched late last year, the media’s focus was on how England had performed relative to other countries in the tests. The headline result is that England did reasonably well overall, performing significantly above the international mean in maths and science in both years 5 and 9, which places us in the second highest performing group of countries overall. [A blog summarising England’s performance is available here].

What I want to focus on here though is how pupil attitudes to maths and science have changed over the past 20 years. One finding is that enjoyment and confidence in maths declined among Year 9 pupils in England between 1995 and 2015, even as our attainment increased. This apparent paradox has been seen across a number of countries participating Read more ›

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

Understanding youth turnout in GenElec2017: some comments, cautions and caveats

Avril Keating

Youth turnout in the British general election has once again been the focus of much media attention and social media comment, with some calling this election a “youthquake”. In this blog, I provide some contextual information for these stories, and some words of caution for interpreting the data that is currently available.

1. It is widely being claimed that 72% of young people turned out to vote in the General Election. This is an early estimate, and likely to be contradicted. After the EU referendum in 2016, the headlines focused on initial claims that only 36% of young people aged 18-24 voted, however subsequent polls estimated that turnout among this age group was closer to 60%.
2. The best sources to look for are the How Britain Voted series (published by Ipsos-MORI, usually a few weeks after the election) and the British Election Study (which will release its figures in the Autumn).
3. Even these two sources are likely to contradict each other. In 2015, Ipsos-MORI data suggested that turnout among the 18-24s was 43%, while
Read more ›

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Posted in Social sciences and social policy, young people

Performance management is here to stay, but TEF needs a rethink

Simon Marginson.

The post-election regroupement of the government provides a surprising and welcome opportunity to rethink the TEF before it does too much damage, before the shaping of behaviours and unplanned consequences become entrenched.

Let’s consider what might happen if the government took that opportunity—replacing TEF 2 (2017), whose first results will be announced – along with celebrations and wailing – tomorrow, with a much better TEF 3 (2018) for implementation next time round.

TEF 3 would need to start from three assumptions. First, for better and for worse we live Read more ›

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Posted in Further higher and lifelong education

Poorer students aren’t applying to university because of fears of high debts

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Is the sky really the limit when you’re from a poorer background? Pexels

Claire Callender. 

With various political parties pledging to abolish or alter tuition fees, the question of how to fund higher education is squarely back on the political agenda.

The Conservative government has argued in favour of tuition fees and student loans. It confidently declared that neither the abolition of undergraduate grants – which happened in 2016 – nor the proposed rise of full-time undergraduate tuition fees to Read more ›

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Posted in Further higher and lifelong education

Priorities for a new Government: advice from our academics part 5 – Muslims, education and citizenship; teacher retention

The IOE blog has asked colleagues from across the Institute what’s at the top of their wish list. Their replies have appeared over the past few weeks.

Muslims, education and citizenship

Given the present turbulent and divisive environment, how should a new Government approach British Muslims? I believe the new government should approach British Muslims first as citizens of this country and then engage with their concerns in terms of religion, class, gender and other identities.

It is true that being a Muslim means at least some attachment, theological or cultural, to Islam. However, the degree of attachment varies enormously from person to person – ranging from those for whom it determines every aspect of life to those for whom it is one among many loyalties and identity-markers.

There is no all-encompassing ‘Muslim community’, with a shared way of looking at the Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Leadership and management, Teachers
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.


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