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

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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...

May 30, 2019
Phil Stock Blog Meta-Analysis

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

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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...

November 12, 2018
Guess The Misconception

Guess the Misconception

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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...

October 5, 2018
World Teachers Day

Celebrating World Teachers Day

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We know only too well the transformative power a good teacher can have. Where would we be without the positive influence of our favourite teachers?...

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

The importance of looking at value-added on results day

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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...

July 17, 2018
Vocabulary a number of words

Vocabulary: A number of words?

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By Alex Quigley

Deep vocabulary learning is irreversible, irreplaceable and essential to learning and thinking. However, as it is so integral to all of schooling and learning beyond the school gates, it proves very difficult to assess and evaluate effectively. Simply counting up words in lists will never do the job adequately...

May 17, 2018
Assessment without Levels Webinar

Assessment without Levels: Using CEM data

Has the removal of national curriculum levels in England created a broader interest in assessment practices?

The removal of levels back in 2014 caused chaos, confusion and consternation amongst many educators. To some, levels were a secure, reliable, dependable way of scaffolding a child’s journey through school. To others, they represented the limitations of people’s understanding about learning and assessment practice...

March 2, 2018
Sense and Accountability

Sense and Accountability

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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...

December 7, 2017
Woman Thinking

How can evidence help schools spend money wisely?

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By Kate Bailey, Director of Policy, CEM

The Queen’s speech after this year’s general election pledged to deliver fairer funding for schools, building on the national funding formula consultation that closed in March this year.

If government believes that the way schools use their money is the key to delivering the best outcomes for pupils, what decisions can schools take that will make the most of their financial resources? ...

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...

November 15, 2017
Working Together

Working together to get the best from technology in schools

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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 8, 2017
Teaching Children

6 elements of great teaching

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Teaching can be, without a doubt, a complicated business.

Defining effective teaching is not straightforward and there are many facets to it that combine to make great learning happen.

Since its publication in 2014, research published by the Sutton Trust outlining the key elements of effective teaching has been downloaded over 100,000 times...

October 25, 2017

6 Tactics to help a child work on set tasks

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By Professor Christine Merrell

Children who are inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive are likely to benefit from an environment which is well structured and predictable. It is good for them to know what is going to come next.

Unexpected events, movements between lessons and anything where there are unexpected happenings can be difficult to cope with. It therefore makes sense to start the day by explaining what is going to happen...

October 18, 2017
Inattentive Child

Inattentive behaviour in the classroom

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By Professor Christine Merrell

It can be hard for even the best teachers to notice differences in the behaviour of one child in a busy primary classroom, even though responding to these signs can be the key to helping a child make good progress.

However, I hope that research by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University will be able to offer both new insights and practical help...