May 24, 2018
What is on our bookshelves

What is on our bookshelves?

Believe it or not, there were bookcases before IKEA’s ubiquitous BILLY bookshelf.

We’ve been putting things on shelves for thousands of years. Archaeological remains from earliest times suggest that clay and stone tablets were kept in some arranged order by their authors or collectors...

May 17, 2018
Assessment without Levels Webinar

Assessment without Levels: Using CEM data

Has the removal of national curriculum levels in England created a broader interest in assessment practices?

The removal of levels back in 2014 caused chaos, confusion and consternation amongst many educators. To some, levels were a secure, reliable, dependable way of scaffolding a child’s journey through school. To others, they represented the limitations of people’s understanding about learning and assessment practice...

May 8, 2018
What is PISA telling us

What is PISA telling us, and what can teachers do about it?

By Mark Frazer, Teaching and Learning Lead, CEM

Since the publication of the results from the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), many researchers and educational bloggers have drawn attention to, and have questioned, the results. For example, Greg Ashman has discussed the implications of the 2015 study on several occasions.

The 2015 PISA study involved assessing the performance of over half a million 15 year olds in 72 countries using a series of computer-based tasks and questionnaires...

April 26, 2018
How schools can engage

How schools can engage with research and evidence

By Dr Deborah M. Netolicky

It makes sense that the most effective teaching methods are used in classrooms, and that the most effective leadership governance practices are used in schools, but how do educators decide on what evidence on which they should rely, to whom they should listen, and how they might engage meaningfully with research findings? How do we know what research is worth listening to, what is worth ignoring, and what has been debunked?

In my last post for the CEM Blog, I explored the dangers of educators accepting seemingly simple solutions to the complex problems of education. In this post I suggest five ways in which teachers, schools, and systems can meaningfully engage in research...

April 18, 2018
Evidence Based Educations, Expectations, Barriers and Pitfalls

Evidence-based education: expectations, barriers and pitfalls

By Dr Deborah M. Netolicky

Teachers, school leaders, schools, and education systems around the world are increasingly expected to use data to inform practice.

The Australian school system in which I work is grounded in the 2008 Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young Australians. Among other things, the Declaration outlines the need for schools to have reliable, rich, good quality data on the performance of their students in order to improve outcomes for all students by: supporting successful diagnosis of student progress; supporting designing of high quality learning programs; and informing school approaches to provision of policies, programs, resourcing, relationships with parents and partnerships with community and business. It additionally notes that information about the performance of students helps parents and families make informed choices and engage with their children’s education...

April 10, 2018
Data Matters

Data matters

Mark Steed, Director of JESS, Dubai

There is broad agreement in research that effective use of data is vital to school improvement. We know that the effective use of data can promote better teaching and learning through practices such as tracking pupil progress, setting targets, identifying where students need further support, strategic planning and performance management.

Therefore, it stands to reason that there is also a need for school leaders to have high levels of assessment and data skills...

March 20, 2018
Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-Based Practice: What it is and what it isn’t

By Dr Gary Jones

We are delighted to host this piece by Gary Jones, in which he draws out the parallels between guidance on the meaning of evidence-based medicine and evidence-based practice in education.

Talking about evidence-based practice often generates a level of concern among teachers who worry that this is an attempt to control or dictate what they can and cannot do; that it removes or devalues their professional judgement; that it reduces the complexity of school and classroom interaction to simplistic recipes based on a narrow range of research methods...

March 13, 2018
Reporting the evidence

Reporting the evidence: what research can tell us about how assessment data is used

Katharine Bailey is Director of Policy here at CEM, and for many years she has been working with schools and governments in the UK and around the world, helping them to use assessment data for pupil and school improvement...

March 8, 2018
Translating Evidence into Improvement

Translating Evidence into Improvement: why is it so hard?

Amongst a range of speakers focussing on what works, what doesn’t, with examples of good practice from across the North East schools community, CEM Director and Professor of Education, Rob Coe, discussed some of the issues around using evidence to improve outcomes.

March 2, 2018
Sense and Accountability

Sense and Accountability

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has published a report today calling for reforms to the system for judging England’s primary schools, in order to make it fairer on schools and better for children.

The report, Sense and Accountability: Holding our Primary Schools to account for what matters most, follows consultation with a panel of primary and assessment experts, including CEM Director, Professor Rob Coe and CEM’s Director of Policy, Katharine Bailey...

February 27, 2018
Accountability

Assessment and accountability

How many webpages, teacher forums and parent chat rooms abound with acerbic, defensive and downright despondent comments on the system of accountability in schools?

It’s an understatement to say that the accountability system in England is complex. With schools held under 7 types of accountability (professional, hierarchical, market, contractual, legal, network and participative), it is little wonder it can engender a range of dysfunctional and demoralising side effects...

February 23, 2018
Changes in Education throughout the years at CEM

Changes in Education Throughout the Years

At the end of December, Professor Peter Tymms retired from his role as a Director of CEM.

In 1996, Peter and Professor Carol Taylor-Fitzgibbon brought CEM to Durham University where it grew from a small and focussed research centre to one of the most influential organisations in the field of educational assessment and research – a position that it still holds today...

February 13, 2018
Navigating Evidence

Navigating Evidence

In recent months there has been a real surge of interest in the ways that evidence and research can be used to help support and improve teaching and learning. The appetite for information and discussion about how evidence can help teachers has never been greater. But with so much information out there it can be difficult to know where to start, and finding the time to get to grips with any of it can be a daunting prospect...

April 29, 2016
Science Students

The big questions we should all be asking about practical science

By Dr Helen Cramman

Science is not short of big questions to ask: How did the universe begin? How did life on earth begin? What makes us human? I could go on. But even though there are plenty of big questions in science, we must not forget to ask the smaller, no less important questions to ensure that we are nurturing the future generations who will go on to ask and answer the big questions of their time...

April 26, 2016
Confused Boy

Helping teachers give every child the support they need

By Dr Christine Merrell

It can be hard for even the best teachers to notice differences in the behaviour of one child in a busy primary classroom, even though responding to these signs can be the key to helping a child make good progress.

However, I hope that new research by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University will be able to offer both new insights and practical help...