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...

March 4, 2014

Would you let this test into your classroom?

By Professor Robert Coe, 27 February 2014

In England, the government has announced the end of using levels for assessment. If that means an end to meaningless numbers based on unstandardized, impressionistic, selective and biased judgements that fail to capture true learning, it is a good thing. But will it? And what have we got that is better?

As schools start to confront the reality of having to design their own assessment systems, or adopt them from elsewhere, two things have become clear to me. The first is that in assessment, quality matters. The difference between good and bad assessment is huge and it makes an important difference. The second is that the understanding of what makes...

January 9, 2014

Classroom observation: it’s harder than you think

by Professor Robert Coe

We’ve all done it: observed another teacher’s lesson and made a judgement about how effective the teaching was. Instinctively it feels valid. I am a good teacher; I’ll know a good lesson when I see one. We’ve all experienced it from the other side – being observed – but this time the feeling may be more mixed. Sometimes you get real insight from someone who sees what you don’t, questions what you take for granted and makes you think differently. Sometimes they just tell you what they would have done, or focus on some trivial irrelevance...

October 10, 2013

Baseline assessment, to test, or not to test, that is the question…

To test, or not to test? That is the question which provokes one of the most keenly fought debates in education policy, and which can lead to soul searching on an almost Shakespearean scale among teachers and academics. […]