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27th March 2017

Great news! The Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) has been announced as Education Exporter of Year in the 2017 Education Resources Awards (ERA).

The ERA’s, organised by The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), are recognised throughout the sector as the accolade of excellence and highlight and reward the quality and diversity of educational products, resources, services and people as well as the best educational establishments and the most dedicated members of the teaching profession.

The Education Exporter of the Year award recognises CEM’s influence and positive impact on international education.

Katharine Bailey, CEM’s Director of Applied Research received the award at a ceremony held in Birmingham on Friday 17th March and commented, ‘This is a fabulous achievement for CEM. Our assessments are now used in over 70 countries around the world to help teachers improve the educational outcomes of their students. It’s great to have this recognition.’

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.

3rd March 2017

Andreas Demetriou, Christine Merrell and Peter Tymms have published a detailed analysis of the development of young children between the start of school and age 7. The data for this analysis came from CEM's PIPS assessments.

They found that the fifth year of a child's life brings with it important developmental changes in the ability to process information. At this age, it appears that many children are developing mental processes to map representations onto each other and integrate them into smoothly running complex skills. These processes are required for learning to read and write. Children are looking at letters, understanding their distinctive features and how they group together in patterns that form words.

This finding has implications for teaching and learning; it is helpful to know about this important 'time window' that occurs in the fifth year of many children's lives so that we can really capitalise on the opportunity of helping them to acquire literacy skills just at the time when the mental processes in their brains are ready to process that information. Interventions aimed at helping children to recognise representations associated with letters and words are more likely to succeed in this short time window than before or after.

This is just one finding from the research, and if you would like to read the full paper, the reference is:

Demetriou, A., Merrell, C. and Tymms, P. (in press). Mapping and Predicting Literacy and Reasoning Skills from Early to Later Primary School, Learning and Individual Differences, 24(2017), 217 – 225.

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..

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