November 16, 2016
Rob Coe

Reasons to be optimistic about assessment

by Stephen Tierney

This blog post is taken from the first part of a presentation Stephen Tierney (@leadinglearner) gave at the Learning First Conference in Sheffield on the 5th November 2016, with an introduction by Rob Coe.

"I already knew about Stephen from his blogs and twitter posts, so I had high expectations before I first heard him speak. I was not disappointed. He was able to make something...

November 1, 2016
Music Child

Making a positive primary to secondary transition in Music

By Dimitra Kokotsaki

Moving from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 can be a big upheaval for many pupils. Schools work hard to ease the transition with a range of policies, plans, mechanisms and strategies. But do they always work...

October 4, 2016
Teacher Student

NEON 2016

Enabling wider access to Higher Education by Laura da Costa

In June of this year, a team of CEM researchers, at Durham University, travelled to Leicester for the NEON Summer Symposium. The National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) was founded in 2012 as a professional organisation supporting those involved in widening participation (WP) to higher education (HE)...

August 12, 2016
Maths

Maths Anxiety

by Stephanie Raine

Do you avoid maths at all costs?

How do you feel when working out your change, splitting a bill between friends, or helping with your child’s homework?

I’m sure we can all recall witnessing children avoid eye contact, squirm in their seats or completely freeze when presented with a maths problem. On the other hand, maybe this is your reaction...

July 28, 2016
Holiday

Summertime and the planning is easy

The summer holidays are finally here and offer a long awaited break after SATs, GCSEs and A-levels. There has been a raft of changes which have hit schools during the last few months such as examination reforms, new Ofsted frameworks and changes to baseline assessment in primary schools.

Despite all the uncertainty which schools are facing due to these issues, there is some breathing space for teachers to read around recent research and innovations and plan ahead during the holiday...

July 8, 2016
Teacher Child

Understanding what works in oral reading assessments

by Professors Christine Merrell and Peter Tymms

Last week saw the publication of the new online and open-access report, Understanding What Works in Oral Reading Assessments. Produced collaboratively by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, the Global Partnership for Education and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the report contains an important chapter, ‘Assessing Young Children: Problems and Solutions’, co-authored by CEM’s Director of Research, Professor Christine Merrell and iPIPS Director, Professor Peter Tymms...

June 22, 2016
Books

What is Worth Reading for Teachers Interested in Research?

Professor Robert Coe, June 2016

I give a fair number of talks to groups of teachers and school leaders on the subject of connecting educational research with their practice. Often I will mention a particular book, such as John Hattie’s Visible Learning, Graham Nuthall’s Hidden Lives of Learners or Dylan Wiliam’s Embedded Formative Assessment, and ask if anyone has read it. I have learnt that it is rare for more than a handful of my audience to say yes; I confess I am repeatedly disappointed...

May 24, 2016
Lee Copping

What’s in a name?

by Dr Lee Copping

New research from CEM shows that the length of a child’s name is not predictive of future academic attainment.

There are few who would dispute that the ability to write one’s own name acts as a gateway for future literacy abilities. Previous research in education however has suggested that the length of a child’s name may be predictive of future academic attainment (Treiman, Kessler and Bourassa, 2001)...

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...