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Newsletters are also available for you to keep up to date on CEM's work.

13th February 2017

It is with deep sadness and regret that we learned of the death of Professor Carol Taylor Fitz-Gibbon recently.

Carol joined Durham University in 1996, as Professor of Education (1996-2003), bringing the Curriculum, Evaluation and Management Centre (CEM – now known as the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) with her from the University of Newcastle. She remained Director until her retirement in 2003.

Carol initiated the A-Level Information System in 1983 which established the basics of confidential measurement based self-evaluation in schools and colleges, pioneering the concept of “value-added” measures for exam results. Under her direction, CEM won many research contracts, among them the national contract to study the feasibility of a system of value added indicators (1995-97). Her main work with CEM was to initiate ‘distributed research’, working with thousands of schools that voluntarily joined research projects. Schools from 70 countries joined, and CEM Centres were established in New Zealand (Canterbury University), Scotland and Hong Kong.

Carol was very influential, educating, innovating and campaigning vigorously in the UK and the USA where she gained her PHD at UCLA. Her best-selling series of evaluation books, which she co-authored, influenced a generation of researchers. She was outraged by Ofsted with their non-scientific and bullying approach and fought long and hard to reform that body. She had a major interest in cross-age tutoring and Reforms as Experiments, both of which she promoted widely.

Carol Taylor Fitz-Gibbon was widely in demand as a keynote speaker, and described as ‘deeply serious and hugely entertaining’.

A UK memorial service is planned for the afternoon of Monday 18th September 2017, at the Great Hall, Durham Castle. Anyone interested in attending this should contact Gemma Harper: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

21st November 2016

We need your help! We’re looking for primary school teachers in England to complete a short, five minute survey. This will help inform research about when children first learn certain words relating to Geography.

This research is being led by Professor Peter Tymms, founder of PIPS and Director of iPIPS at CEM.

All survey results will be anonymous and will feed into the development of a larger international research study in the area.

If you are able to help us, please complete the survey here.

27th November 2016

The Scottish Government today announced that ACER have been awarded the contract to deliver standardised national assessments for schools across the country.

Here at the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University, we provide assessment tools and data to schools and education authorities in over twenty local authority areas in Scotland. We will continue to work closely with these education authorities and schools, this academic year and beyond.

In response to today’s announcement, Professor Rob Coe, Director of CEM at Durham University, said:

“We have always found that there is real passion, commitment and wisdom about education in Scotland and a real desire to work together to find collective solutions to problems. Scotland is now moving to the next level and leading the world with the National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education.”
“We’ve been working for a long time in Scotland and built up some really good relationships with a lot of teachers, school leaders, people working in education authorities and we will continue to work in Scotland and support their commitment to improving the lives of Scotland’s children and young people through education.”

Any schools or education authorities using CEM assessment systems who require support, training or have questions can contact us on 0191 334 4215 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

9th November 2016

Regardless of the quality and breadth of their musical life in primary schools, pupils seem to like music less from the end of Year 6 to the end of Year 7.

Research findings published this week in the British Journal of Music Education suggest that the potential benefits that good quality music education can have on children may be compromised if the transition to secondary school is not supported effectively.

The study, ‘Pupil voice and attitudes to music during the transition to secondary school’, conducted by CEM researcher, Dr Dimitra Kokotsaki, is part of a larger project funded by the Nuffield Foundation aimed at sharing ideas about how the primary-secondary transition in music can be improved and enabling the professional development of teachers through the sharing of expertise.

Dr Kokotstaki’s research indicates that Year 6 pupils are enthusiastic about the opportunities of studying music in secondary school. However, these positive pupil attitudes typically felt in the first term of Year 7 are seen to decline as the year progresses.

The study highlights the importance of the music teacher in supporting pupils’ active musical involvement, providing an element of choice to the pupils and giving clear guidance to ensure progression in their learning.

Read the full report

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BASE Reception Baseline Assessment

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