What is on our bookshelves?

Reading Time: Approx 2mins

Believe it or not, there were bookcases before IKEA’s ubiquitous BILLY bookshelf.

We’ve been putting things on shelves for thousands of years. Archaeological remains from earliest times suggest that clay and stone tablets were kept in some arranged order by their authors or collectors.

The CEM library may not contain ancient tomes, but it does hold a timeline of inspiring, contentious and dog-eared books on teaching, learning and assessment.

Here’s a quick pick of some of our favourites.

What’s CEM Director, Prof Coe, reading?

Testing: Friend or Foe? Theory and Practice of Assessment and Testing by Paul Black

An oldie but a goodie and well worth (re)reading. This book is 20 years old so may not be well known by teachers today, but it is a great introduction to the big issues around assessment and it gives an overview of some of the practicalities. Paul Black worked closely with Dylan Wiliam on formative assessment, but also chaired the Task Group on Assessment and Testing whose recommendations underpinned the design of the original National Curriculum in 1988.

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger and Mark A. Mcdaniel

I have recommended this one a few times before. The content is great, offering practical advice and strategies and it’s really readable.

Thinking Reading: What every secondary teacher needs to know about reading by James Murphy and Dianne Murphy

This was new to me and I have only just finished reading it, but I really enjoyed this book. It looks at how we learn to read and some of the problems of teaching reading at secondary level. The number of children coming into secondary schools whose level of reading is below what they need to access the curriculum is a national scandal, matched only by the scandal of the number who leave secondary schools still unable to read, and the dismal life prospects that await them. It’s not just for English teachers and has practical suggestions for school-wide approaches.

What’s CEM Director of Policy, Katharine Bailey, reading?

Ahead of the Curve: The Power of Assessment to Transform Teaching and Learning edited by Douglas Reeves

This book gives you an idea of the depth and complexity of information available on assessment. It’s a really good collection of research including contributions from Dylan Wiliam and Rick Stiggins, covering a whole range of challenges in assessment. It looks at assessment in the classroom as well as system level and leadership issues.

Monitoring Education by Carol Taylor Fitz-Gibbon

This was published way back in 1996 and was pretty revolutionary at the time as it explored the ideas of value-added, school effectiveness and the impact of policy.  Its ideas and philosophy lie at the heart of everything we do at CEM.

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