January 17, 2020
What do teachers want

What do teachers want?

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

Fundamentally, teachers want to do the best by their students. The ideal end-goal is to be able to send our students out into the world armed with the best education we can provide so that they can go on to become functioning, happy and valuable members of society...

January 9, 2020
Standardised Tests 101

Standardised Tests 101 – how and why tests are standardised

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

By Richard Selfridge

Standardising a test score is fairly straightforward and I walked readers through the process. As I said, however, “deciding whether test scores reported in this way are meaningful depends on a number of other variables which come into play – and that requires an understanding of a whole raft of issues”...

December 10, 2019
CM Define

Maths is for life…not just for Christmas

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

Have you written your Christmas list yet? What if the educational community had a stocking? What presents would we want to wake up to?...

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

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...

May 8, 2018
What is PISA telling us

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

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

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...

February 1, 2018

Let’s give teachers the information they need to improve children’s academic outcomes

Reading Time: Approx 2mins

Since the early 1990s CEM has offered a baseline assessment for primary schools.

We know it is vital that teachers have access to reliable information throughout reception, to help them make informed decisions so they can transform the academic outcomes of the children they teach...

November 15, 2017
Working Together

Working together to get the best from technology in schools

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

By Robert Cooper, IT Manager

If you work in a school, you’ll probably be just about into the rhythm of things with the first half term under your belt.

A new school year is always a busy time for everyone and it can be stressful. Part of that stress can be caused by your school technology not working the way you want; your classroom projector has changed since last term, you can’t print your notes for the next lesson; or your PC starts up on your first day back with an operating system you’ve never seen before...

November 10, 2017
Teenager Science

Practical science in schools

Reading Time: Approx 1min

By Kirsty Younger

The Practical Work in Science study is nearing the end of its final year of data collection.

The study, funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation with a contribution from the Wellcome Trust, investigates how practical science in schools has been changing during a period of curriculum change and budgetary constraints...

August 16, 2017
Teacher Effectiveness

Is student progress the same as teacher effectiveness?

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

There’s plenty to cry ‘unfair’ about in teaching right now.

Your classes are getting bigger; there was no money for decent CPD again this year; and you were given bottom set Year 11 for the fourth year running.

And now the value-added results are in. Negative value-added for those Year 11s again? It’s bad enough that they have not met expected progress, but how can they have actually gone backwards? All that extra work you’ve done. All the lunchtimes you’ve missed for those catch up sessions. You are exhausted and now, it seems, you are a terrible teacher....

May 16, 2017
Science Students

Practical work in science – CEM wants to hear from you

Reading Time: Approx 6mins

By Kirsty Younger

CEM wants to hear from you on practical work in science.

Policy and practice rarely stand still in the world of education, and science teaching is no exception. Recent years have seen changes to the way that science subjects are assessed at GCSE and A level in England. Importantly, the assessment methods for practical work in science have changed...

November 1, 2016
Music Child

Making a positive primary to secondary transition in Music

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

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...

April 29, 2016
Science Students

The big questions we should all be asking about practical science

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

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...