December 5, 2019
Evaluating Impact

Evaluating Impact

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

By Kate Bailey, Director of Policy, CEM

Each year, the education system spends astonishing amounts of money on implementing educational initiatives which often yield only negligible impact on learners...

October 8, 2019

5 top tips for NQTs to crack assessment

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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?

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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

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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

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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’?

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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?

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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?

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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

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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...

December 13, 2018
researchED Durham

Working out what works at researchED Durham

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By Andrew Pearson

The first conference of its kind in the North East brought together an assortment of thought leaders from the contemporary education scene...

November 21, 2018

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

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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.

November 19, 2018
Standardised Scores 101

Standardised Scores 101 – Understanding how Standardised Scores are Calculated

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By Richard Selfridge

If a student scores 65% on a test, what does this tell you? Is this mark good? Bad? Average? If it is deemed to be a good/bad/average mark, against whom is this judgement being made – the other children in a class, in a school, or similar children across the country?...

July 26, 2018
5 top blogs to read this summer

5 top blogs to read this summer

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It is perennially difficult during term time to make space for some interesting reads that offer insight into the teaching profession, and it’s easy to feel you have missed out on too much...

July 12, 2018

In pursuit of reliability and validity

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By Dr Chris Jellis, Research Associate at CEM

Any good assessment is a balance between reliability and validity.

A lot has already been written about this. Dylan William discusses the complexity of the relationship between reliability and validity in Reliability, Validity and all that Jazz, where he refers to the ‘tension’ between them....

June 20, 2018
Not an assessment

But that is NOT AN ASSESSMENT!

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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...

February 27, 2018
Accountability

Assessment and accountability

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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...

November 30, 2017
Student Exams

7 questions you need to ask about assessment

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To a busy teacher, producing good assessments can be a time consuming and daunting prospect.

When it is done well, an assessment can provide you with information that it isn’t possible to find out in any other way.

We have all heard of teachers saying “I’ve set this test to be really hard, no-one will get this right”, but assessment isn’t about you as a teacher pitting your wits against your students. Assessment plays an important part in helping you find out what your students know and, importantly, do not know, in order to better meet their learning needs...

June 19, 2017
Rob Coe

Where is the value in assessment?

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By Professor Rob Coe

Assessment is one of those things that you think you know what it is until you start to really think hard about it. Then the problem of trying to delineate exactly what it is and what it isn’t seems rather more complex than at first sight. Part of the problem is that assessment covers such a wide range of things: some assessment is really part of pedagogy: simply good teaching; some assessment is about measurement: operationalising a trait or attribute; some is about evaluation, stretching into accountability and inseparable from the consequences that attach to outcomes...

November 16, 2016
Rob Coe

Reasons to be optimistic about assessment

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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...