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’.