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...

December 13, 2018
researchED Durham

Working out what works at researchED Durham

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

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 19, 2018
Standardised Scores 101

Standardised Scores 101 – Understanding how Standardised Scores are Calculated

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

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?...

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...

October 17, 2018
Who should be doing what

Evidence-Based Education: Who should be doing what?

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

By Dr Gary Jones

Being a teacher is hard enough, without spending unnecessary amounts of time on practices that just don’t make any real kind of an impact. It’s not enough for an intervention or practice to have merit, it needs to be ‘worth it’...

August 30, 2018
Results are in, whats next

The results are in… so what next?

Reading Time: Approx 4mins

By Sue Holt

The GCSE and IGCSE results have been published so no doubt there have been celebrations, commiserations and, in some cases, recriminations.

So what factors should schools consider when looking at the results?...

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 12, 2018
Teacher with children

Finding the ‘Sweet Spot’ of Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Reading Time: Approx 2mins

By Mark Frazer, Teaching and Learning Lead, CEM

In my previous blog post, I considered some of the findings from the 2015 PISA study.

The data appear to suggest that independent or student led activities do not support outcomes as effectively as more traditional teacher led activities.

In reality, can either approach be solely relied upon?...

June 4, 2018

Making a world of difference: my experience of using evidence in international schools

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

By Sue Holt, Vice Principal, New Cairo British International School

It would be an easy task to list the benefits of working in an international school.

Less easy would be finding ways to meet some of the unexpected and complex challenges that face senior leaders in an international education...

April 26, 2018
How schools can engage

How schools can engage with research and evidence

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

By Dr Deborah M. Netolicky

It makes sense that the most effective teaching methods are used in classrooms, and that the most effective leadership governance practices are used in schools, but how do educators decide on what evidence on which they should rely, to whom they should listen, and how they might engage meaningfully with research findings? How do we know what research is worth listening to, what is worth ignoring, and what has been debunked?

In my last post for the CEM Blog, I explored the dangers of educators accepting seemingly simple solutions to the complex problems of education. In this post I suggest five ways in which teachers, schools, and systems can meaningfully engage in research...

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...

March 2, 2018
Sense and Accountability

Sense and Accountability

Reading Time: Approx 3mins

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has published a report today calling for reforms to the system for judging England’s primary schools, in order to make it fairer on schools and better for children.

The report, Sense and Accountability: Holding our Primary Schools to account for what matters most, follows consultation with a panel of primary and assessment experts, including CEM Director, Professor Rob Coe and CEM’s Director of Policy, Katharine Bailey...

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...