October 8, 2019

5 top tips for NQTs to crack assessment

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

Your first year of teaching presents you with a wealth of challenges. How do you manage behaviour? How do you cope with the workload? How can you do your best? How will you know if you are a good teacher?...

September 4, 2019
Knowledge in the light

Evidence-based policy and practice in education – knowledge in the light or strategy in the dark?

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

By Tim Oates CBE, Group Director of Assessment Research and Development, Cambridge Assessment

The term ‘evidence-based policy’ rose to particular prominence in the early years of the New Labour administration, following the 1997 general election...

July 5, 2019
Measuring progress in education

Measuring Progress in Education

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

At the 10th Annual Festival of Education, held at the beautiful Wellington College, CEM hosted a panel on “Measuring progress in education: The good, the bad and the future.”...

June 27, 2019

The Big Evidence Debate – Catch Up

On Tuesday 4th June 2019 we held the first ever Big Evidence Debate.


Leading educational experts Dylan Wiliam and Larry Hedges gave fascinating keynote presentations, and thought leaders and educational practitioners joined them to debate the contribution that meta-analysis and randomised control trials make to understanding what works in education.

June 21, 2019
The good, the bad, the future

Measuring Progress in Education – The good, the bad and the future

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

By Richard Selfridge

In recent years, ‘progress’ or ‘growth’ has become a much-discussed issue in education. The terminology has often been used to mean a numerical summary of a child’s development over time, usually when compared to their peers...

June 20, 2019
Root of evil

Progress measures are the root of all evil

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

By James Pembroke

In their pursuit of a number - a neat proxy for the distance travelled between two points - schools can do some crazy stuff...

June 20, 2019
An exercise in mega-silliness

Is meta-analysis all just ‘an exercise in mega-silliness’?

Reading Time: Approx 5mins

By Stuart Kime

To my mind, there was something heroic about Gene Glass’ presidential address to the 1976 American Educational Research Association annual meeting...

June 14, 2019
Meta Analysis Blog

Meta-analysis: Don’t do it or Do it more carefully?

Reading Time: Approx 5mins

By Philippa Cordingley

Meta-analyses (like the popular Sutton Trust Tool Kit and Hattie’s Visible Learning) apparently offer a more sophisticated and orderly approach to our world than the messy reality of day to day practice...

June 11, 2019
Is Meta-Analysis the best we can do?

Is meta-analysis the best we can do?

Reading Time: Approx 5mins

By Professor Steve Higgins

Is meta-analysis in its current state trustworthy enough to be a basis for practitioner decisions?...

June 6, 2019
Introducing the 50 Percent Rule

The Big Evidence Debate: Introducing the 50% rule

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

By Lee Elliot-Major

As a news editor, I developed my own 50% rule: reporters should spend as much time writing their stories as getting the stories in the first place. Journalists often race back into the newsroom with great tales to tell...

May 30, 2019
Phil Stock Blog Meta-Analysis

Meta-analyses and the making of an evidence-informed profession

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

By Phil Stock

Before entering into a broader discussion about the use of meta-analysis in school decision-making, it’s worth appreciating just how far teaching has progressed towards becoming an evidence-informed profession...

January 10, 2019
Losing Track of your Data

Losing track of your data?

Reading Time: Approx 2mins

Under the new Ofsted framework, inspectors will now “ignore all tracking data” and from September 2019 Ofsted’s goal will be to view performance measures more in the context of the quality of education provided...

November 21, 2018

Why assessment may tell you less than you think – Part 1

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

By Rob Coe

I was inspired to write this blog by reading Harry Fletcher-Wood's book ‘Responsive Teaching’. I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any teacher who wants to make ‘formative assessment’ work in their classroom.

October 31, 2018
The Level Illusion

The Level Illusion

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

By James Pembroke

Back when I worked in a local authority I was asked to build an Excel-based tracking system, something primary schools could use to track pupil progress through levels. “Pupils make three points per year” I was told...

August 21, 2018
Looking at value-added on results day

The importance of looking at value-added on results day

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

By Mark S. Steed, Director, JESS, Dubai

This week sees thousands of students receiving their GCSE results.

Now is also the time when many anxious parents hope that their children have the best possible exam results that will allow them to progress to sixth form or college, and join the path they hope will take them to university and into successful and fulfilled employment...

June 20, 2018
Not an assessment

But that is NOT AN ASSESSMENT!

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

By Professor Rob Coe, Director, CEM

It has become common, although I still find it surprising, to hear teachers use the word ‘data’ as if it were a bad thing.

‘Data drops’ have come to epitomise a pointless exercise in collecting meaningless numbers and feeding them into a system that can have no possible benefit for learners. People even say that Ofsted is ‘too reliant on data’, as if a judgement process could - or should – rely on anything other than data...

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

Evidence-based education: expectations, barriers and pitfalls

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

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

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

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...

September 15, 2017
Primary Children

Primary assessment consultation response

Reading Time: Approx 2mins

The government’s response to the review of primary assessment and accountability, published yesterday, contained a mix of good and bad news.

It goes some way to address the disruptions and distractions in primary education over recent years, but perhaps it could have gone further.

The review attracted over 4000 responses and addressed the complex implications for assessment and accountability. It asked for views on the future of the statutory primary assessment system, including assessment in the early years...