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Archive for the 'COVID-19 and education' Category

International Women’s Day: what now for girls’ access to education around the world?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital5 March 2021

IOE Events.

For our latest public debate we returned to the matter of Covid-19, this time the pandemic’s impact on girls’ access to education in the developing world. To assess that impact and the immense task of ‘building back better’, we were joined by an international panel of leading figures from the development community: Alice Albright, CEO of the Global Partnership for Education; Marelize Gorgens, Senior Specialist at the World Bank; Girish Menon, CEO of STiR Education; and Elaine Unterhalter, Professor of Education and International Development, and Co-Director of the Centre for Education and International Development (CEID), at the IOE.  You can find out more about our speakers here.

The task is a profound and urgent one, with estimates that around 24 million girls will never return to school following the pandemic, with marked and long-term consequences. This is in addition to those who were already outside education. As with much else, the pandemic has exposed existing fault lines in relation to girls’ education around the world. What was striking from the discussion was how much had previously been placed (more…)

Exams: changing the rules of the game while you are playing will not rebuild trust

Blog Editor, IOE Digital26 February 2021

Melanie Ehren.

In December last year, Ofqual announced a new expert group to rebuild trust in the exam system. The group is to look into how data on schools’ and students’ performance could be “better and more widely shared”, thereby prising open the box of secrets containing the data and processes that drive the awarding of exam grades.

The group’s appointment could not come at a better time; Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has since announced that teachers’ estimated grades will replace cancelled GCSEs and A-levels in England this summer, saying that he would “trust in teachers rather than algorithms”, a reference to last year’s exams U-turn. Today, Government announced new plans for teacher assessed GCSEs, AS and A levels which will include a series of ‘mini-exams’.

But is this alternative approach the best way forward to rebuild trust in exams? Or do we need a wider set of strategies?

To answer the question, we first look at whose trust needs to be rebuilt. (more…)

How can we help teachers to support their students in catching up?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital23 February 2021

Diana Laurillard.

Teaching in every education sector has changed beyond all recognition over the past year and the dramatic conversion from primarily face-to-face teaching to wholly online has been accomplished by the teaching community almost entirely without help. Some universities, colleges and schools have central technical support staff who have offered guidance and resources to teachers, but it has hardly been commensurate with the scale and difficulty of the change.

So let’s begin with a simple acknowledgement of the extraordinary work done by all those teachers who somehow discovered how to reinvent their entire way of teaching, while also managing the pressures and commitments of lockdown and home-schooling.

There is an expectation now across the teaching and education community that the new-found skills will continue to be deployed, as both students and teachers discover that there is value in mixing conventional and online methods, to achieve the optimal ‘blended learning’ mix. We may as well plan this, for two reasons: (more…)

What bookworms need to thrive

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 February 2021

IOE Events.

The benefits of reading for pleasure are many and varied, from the development of comprehension skills and vocabulary, to the enrichment of imagination and empathy.

For younger children, reading for pleasure builds the proficiency in literacy that accelerates their learning across the school curriculum, and this becomes a virtuous circle as they move on to more demanding texts.  But not all children – or adults – view reading as a favourite pastime. For our latest ‘What if…?’ debate, we brought together children’s author and poet Joe Coelho, literacy experts Charlotte Hacking and Professor Gemma Moss, and social scientist, Professor Alice Sullivan, to assess the barriers and enablers to cultivating committed readers (you can learn more about our panel here).  Along the way, we were delighted to be treated to a poetic tribute to reading, books and libraries.

Our discussion highlighted how the way in which literacy is taught and assessed in schools can be as much of an impediment as an enabler. An over-emphasis on reading as a proficiency and a sorting mechanism, manifested (more…)

Teachers under pressure: working harder, but with less control over how they do their jobs

Blog Editor, IOE Digital20 January 2021

Francis Green.

It must be exhilarating, if challenging, to set out for the first time on a teaching career in Britain’s schools. But, from eye-witness reports in recent years, for some new recruits the strains are not long arriving. Now, as a new term gets underway, the chaos surrounding the pandemic can only be adding to the pressures that teachers have laboured under for a long time.

The stats suggest that dissatisfaction is not confined to an unhappy few. In England, among the newly qualified teachers in 2014, some 14 percent had left after a year; after five years, a third had gone. It seems quite a waste. Teacher retention has been declining for some while, and had fallen yet again in 2019 — despite attempts to stem the tide.

What is it about the job of teaching nowadays (more…)

Will Covid-19 vaccines be enough to get the economy back on track, curb youth unemployment, and mitigate mental health effects?.

Blog Editor, IOE Digital12 January 2021

Golo Henseke.

With the country in the third national lookdown, a Covid-19 free future can sometimes be hard to imagine. But the roll out of first vaccines, albeit slow, does fuel hopes that we can put the health crisis behind us before too long. But how swiftly will the economic recovery follow, and what will this mean for our nation’s young people?

Our new project examining the Covid-19 pandemic’s impacts on youth employment, learning and well-being has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). We will provide robust evidence on the pandemic’s consequences for young people’s employment, learning, and well-being.

A swift economic recovery seems essential to keep people in work or help them return to paid employment. Despite the successful furlough scheme which protected workers from the worst, young people have been hit (more…)

A-level and GCSE cancellation: a missed opportunity to rethink assessment

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 January 2021

Lincoln Beddoe/Shutterstock

Mary Richardson.

GCSE and A-level exams in England have been cancelled, opening the door to a repeat of the confusion that marked the award of grades in 2020.

The cancellation of exams in March 2020 in England was followed by the realisation that an algorithm created to moderate the data provided by schools had led to significant reduction in final grades for many thousands of students. This debacle led to a crisis in public trust in national testing systems in England.

The students most likely to be disadvantaged by this method of grade awarding were from the poorest backgrounds. Within a few days of the results being announced, the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin (more…)

How should we assess school students now that exams have been cancelled?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital8 January 2021

Jake Anders, Lindsey Macmillan, Gill Wyness, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities

This article was originally published by Economics Observatory

To avoid a repeat of last summer’s exam chaos, the government must decide quickly on alternative assessment measures. There is a strong case for A-level students to receive in-class testing – with flexible timing and content – to take account of differences in their learning experiences.

While the uncertainties of a global pandemic make this one of the most volatile periods of education policy in history, if there is one lesson we should all have learned since last March, it is that indecision is costly. This has proved true repeatedly for public health and looks just as relevant for education.

As we saw with last summer’s exam fiasco, the failure to act decisively led to there being little alternative but to (more…)

A Covid generation: who are the winners and losers of a disrupted school year?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital7 January 2021

PIRO4D / Pixabay

Melanie Ehren, Martijn Meeter and Anne Fleur Kortekaas.

The term ‘Covid generation’ has become the new buzz word to refer to children and adolescents under 20 who are affected by school closures and other disruptions.

A report by UNICEF estimates that globally, more than 570 million students – 33 per cent of all enrolled students worldwide –were affected by country-wide school closures in 30 nations as of November 2020. They will have had varying access to remote and online teaching during these closures, and many students from disadvantaged backgrounds will have had little to no learning.

Some believe the lost learning of this generation will have a detrimental effect on the rest of their school and employment careers. This phenomenon is called the ‘Matthew effect’, after the Evangelist’s saying that “For whoever has, to him shall be given […] but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has”: (more…)

Touched by music: a Christmas playlist with a tactile spin

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 December 2020

The In-Touch team, UCL Knowledge Lab

Music is a part of our everyday lives: many song lyrics both ‘touch’ us and tell stories of our tactile relationships with one another.

The interdisciplinary InTouch Project at UCL explores the social implications of digital technology for touch communication. As a fun side-project the team has compiled a Touch Playlist – and it seems every music genre loves a bit of touch!

This winter season, lit up by Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas and Hogmanay, heralds its own set of songs packed with tactile metaphors, invitations to touch, and felt memories. Here, we share a few thoughts on ‘touchy’ Christmas lyrics. Indeed, in the words of Queen (not The Queen), ‘it’s been a long hard year’ for many of us, in shared and different ways. How might the usual medley of (more…)