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Archive for the 'Evidence-based policy' Category

Education and Covid-19: five needs that must be met to provide vital learning lifelines for children and teachers

Blog Editor, IOE Digital14 October 2020

Vagner-Xaruto / Pixabay

Rose Luckin.

The latest reports from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) have some interesting lessons for the UK as we all try to ensure that pandemic compliant teaching and learning are effective wherever they happen: at home, at school on the bus or in the park.

Yes, the data is from 2018, but the dramatic changes we are going through are unlikely to invalidate the learning we can and must glean. Critical links in our education ecosystem are missing and that breaks what could be a learning lifeline for students, but it’s not just the technology that learners lack, it’s the human touch too.

We already know that the pandemic has highlighted discrepancies in access to technology. However, the PISA data shine a light on ways in which we are not meeting some of the basic student needs that must be met for effective remote learning.

There is general agreement that learners need four key things in order to stand a chance of learning remotely if and when they are unable to attend school, and the PISA data provides some support for a fifth (more…)

Celebrating Geoff Whitty’s contribution to education research

Blog Editor, IOE Digital18 September 2020

Emma Wisby and Andrew Brown.

As Covid-19 was reaching its first peak towards the end of March, we were preparing to publish an edited collection in honour of one of the IOE’s former Directors, the late Professor Geoff Whitty: Knowledge, Policy and Practice in Education and the Struggle for Social Justice – Essays Inspired by the Work of Geoff Whitty. Our plans to celebrate the book by gathering together friends, colleagues and interested readers remain on hold. In the meantime, here we reflect on the project and how it builds on Geoff’s scholarship as one of the foremost sociologists of education of his generation.

Geoff conducted incisive and powerful research studies across the themes of knowledge, policy and practice in education.

He was also a prominent voice in examining the field of education studies itself and its relationship to policy and practice.  The collection takes inspiration from all those (more…)

Breadth and balance: the essential elements of a recovery curriculum

Blog Editor, IOE Digital3 September 2020

Dominic Wyse.

Government guidance for schools reopening this month originally suggested that national curriculum subjects could be dropped in order to focus on key areas such as phonics. In the latest welcome U-turn, the guidance now says that “the curriculum remains broad and ambitious”. But at the same time it notes that “Substantial modification to the curriculum may be needed at the start of the year, so teaching time should be prioritised to address significant gaps in pupils’ knowledge with the aim of returning to the school’s normal curriculum content by no later than summer term 2021,” and goes on to give details.

The key question is, will the guidance’s emphasis on aspects such as “disapplication”, “the essentials”, and “phonics” lead to some subjects in the curriculum being neglected? The history of governments’ national curriculum reform in England suggests this will be the case.

The guidance continues, “For pupils in Reception, teachers should also assess and address gaps in language, early reading and mathematics, particularly ensuring children’s acquisition of phonic knowledge and extending their vocabulary. Settings should follow updates to the EYFS [Early Years Foundation Stage] disapplication guidance.”

And, “For pupils in key stages 1 and 2, school leaders are expected to prioritise identifying gaps and re-establish good progress in the (more…)

If COVID-19 is here to stay, how will it affect our mental health and trust in others?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital9 June 2020

Keri Wong.

As lockdown eases in the UK, many people are populating the parks and the outdoors. The latest government advice for England told us to ‘stay alert’, to practice ‘social distancing’ and to be vigilant. This heightened alertness combined with accumulating uncertainties around COVID-19 are stressful. In fact, living with stress for long periods of time can take a toll on people’s mental health.

The question then is: If COVID-19 is here to stay, what can we learn about people’s mental wellbeing now so we can help them later?

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When a pandemic causes school closures it has wide-ranging impacts beyond public health: our logic model can help in decision-making

Blog Editor, IOE Digital13 May 2020

James Thomas, Alison O’Mara-EvesDylan Kneale and Rebecca Rees.

The closure of schools has been a recommended intervention in response to pandemics because of its potential for reducing the transmission of infection among children, school staff, and those they contact. Previous evidence has shown that closing schools can have the intended effect of reducing infection rates, although factors such as the timing and length of the closures are likely to be important.

The current crisis, however, has highlighted that existing evidence and debates are insufficient. They have been largely focused on the impacts on transmission and health services, with less consideration of other downstream effects.

That is why a group of social scientists has come together to explore all possible outcomes. Here we describe our approach to presenting a logical way to consider the impact of school closures on individuals, families, education and health systems, and the broader economy. This is covered in detail in our paper published today by F1000Research and we now seek feedbackon this systems-based logic model.

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In memory of Professor Harvey Goldstein (1939-2020): living by the evidence

Blog Editor, IOE Digital16 April 2020

Gemma Moss.

Harvey Goldstein, who has died of Covid-19 at the age of 80, has left a formidable legacy from his work, both as a statistician and as a campaigner for more careful scrutiny of assessment data in education – whose misuse he consistently queried.

harvey-goldstein

Harvey’s career included posts at the UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH); as Professor of Statistical Methods, Institute of Education (IOE), University of London, 1977 – 2004; and as Professor of Social Statistics at the School of Education, University of Bristol, 2005-2020, where he remained working right up until his death.

He represented a rare combination of statistical insight, rigour and inventiveness, coupled with a fierce desire to call out the abuse of data in public debate and broaden conceptions of what evidence-informed policy should really look like. In all these ways (more…)

GCSEs are cancelled. Here’s what the government should do

Blog Editor, IOE Digital19 March 2020

John Jerrim.

Yesterday, the DfE took the extraordinary step of cancelling GCSE exams. this will mean that some children will suffer the consequences throughout their lifetime.

This is obviously a very tricky situation, and any solution the government comes up with will be less than  perfect.

But, in my view, one clear option is the winner. Children in the 2019/20 cohort should be award GCSEs based upon their predicted grades.

This has the obvious advantage of being relatively cheap, quick and easy to do. It is also (arguably) unlikely to be less fair than the alternatives.

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‘PISA has shifted from being a measure to a target, and in so doing it has lost its value’

Blog Editor, IOE Digital6 December 2019

Paul Morris.

A recent IOE Blog asks whether England should continue its involvement with the triennial PISA tests and concludes that we should, as it provides a wealth of unexplored data for analysis.

The question is timely as the outcomes of the 2018 PISA exercise have just been released. They show once again that England’s scores are fairly stable and around the average – although the they do show improved scores in Reading and Maths and a decline in Science and Life Satisfaction.

The important question in deciding whether to continue with PISA is: what have been the major benefits over the last 19 years?

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Is England’s PISA 2018 data reliable?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital3 December 2019

John Jerrim.

The PISA 2018 results are out today. PISA is supposed to test a representative sample of 15-year-olds across more than 70 countries around the world.

However, questions sometimes arise over how representative the PISA data really is.

And it seems that there were some problems with the PISA 2018 data for the UK. This blogpost will try to explain the issue.

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Is PISA ‘fundamentally flawed’ because of the scaling methodology used?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital5 November 2019

John Jerrim.

Every time PISA results are released, concerns are raised about the methodology that underpins the work.

One area that has come in for repeated criticism is how the test scores of students are actually produced, as in this article, which asked whether PISA was “fundamentally flawed”.

Such concerns were exacerbated by a seminal paper by Svend Kreiner and Karl Bang Christensen who claimed that their results indicated that using PISA to compare countries was “meaningless”.

(more…)