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...

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...

November 24, 2018

Why assessment may tell you less than you think – Part 2

Reading Time: Approx 6mins

By Rob Coe

In part 1 of this blog post, I posed five questions about these uses of assessments. I’m going to take these questions in reverse order...

November 12, 2018
Guess The Misconception

Guess the Misconception

Reading Time: Approx 6mins

By Craig Barton

When I am lucky enough to talk to a group of maths teachers, whether it is in my school or one I am visiting, I often like to play the game, Guess the Misconception...

June 28, 2018

Evidence-based improvement

Video Duration: Approx 40mins

By Professor Rob Coe, Director, CEM

At the Festival of Education 2018, Rob Coe’s presentation followed on from his recent blog post But that is NOT AN ASSESSMENT! by discussing some of the ways schools, and teachers, can use an evidence-based approach to get better at what they do, and he looked at what’s good and what’s not good in relation to assessment...

March 13, 2018
Reporting the evidence

Reporting the evidence: what research can tell us about how assessment data is used

Podcast Duration: Approx 17mins

Katharine Bailey is Director of Policy here at CEM, and for many years she has been working with schools and governments in the UK and around the world, helping them to use assessment data for pupil and school improvement...

March 8, 2018
Translating Evidence into Improvement

Translating Evidence into Improvement: why is it so hard?

Podcast Duration: Approx 24mins

Amongst a range of speakers focussing on what works, what doesn’t, with examples of good practice from across the North East schools community, CEM Director and Professor of Education, Rob Coe, discussed some of the issues around using evidence to improve outcomes.

February 23, 2018
Changes in Education throughout the years at CEM

Changes in Education Throughout the Years

Video Duration: Approx 42mins

At the end of December, Professor Peter Tymms retired from his role as a Director of CEM.

In 1996, Peter and Professor Carol Taylor-Fitzgibbon brought CEM to Durham University where it grew from a small and focussed research centre to one of the most influential organisations in the field of educational assessment and research – a position that it still holds today...

October 11, 2017
International Day of the Girl

International Day of the Girl

Video Duration: Approx 8mins

To mark the 5th International Day of the Girl on 11 October, we invited CEM directors to share their experiences of some of the unique challenges they have faced.

Professor Christine Merrell, Kate Bailey and Emma Beatty speak here about their achievements, their inspiration and motivation…

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...

February 15, 2017
Rob Coe

A Vision for Enhanced Professionalism

Video Duration: Approx 24mins

presented by Professor Rob Coe

"Teaching is far and away the most important of all professions. Teachers make more difference to more people's lives, in a way that more people feel passionate about... what they do really matters." - Professor Robert Coe, Director, CEM.

The new professional body for the teaching profession, The Chartered College of Teaching hosted their inaugural conference in London on Thursday 16th February...

March 4, 2014

Would you let this test into your classroom?

Reading Time: Approx 6mins

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

Reading Time: Approx 7mins

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...