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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…)

New study: empowering teachers, children and parents is the way to achieve the best early childhood education and care

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 July 2020

Yuwei Xu, Clare Brooks, Jie Gao and Eleanor Kitto.

The need to educate young children from home during the Covid crisis has caused early years staff and parents to rethink their roles.

At the IOE’s Centre for Teacher and Early Years Education (CTEY) we carried out an analysis of 19 national and regional early childhood curriculum frameworks across five continents. It reveals that most education systems see empowering educators, parents, and children as essential for effective and high-quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC).

Government evaluation reports on those national frameworks make it clear that educators, parents, and children should all be involved both in the policy making of (more…)

Political engagement shouldn’t be a question of class. A new project is examining the gap and what to do about it

Blog Editor, IOE Digital4 June 2020

Jan Germen Janmaat.

Social mobility is a widely shared ideal in practically all western countries: your family background should not matter for your education, your professional career and for where you end up in life. Consequently, social mobility has been a key concern of social scientists for decades – an interest reignited by the way the Covid crisis is fuelling inequalities in health, education, and the labour market.

Far fewer academics have been interested in the influence of family background on political engagement – i.e. interest in politics and the desire to participate in it. This is surprising as a lack of inter-generational ‘political’ mobility is likely to be as detrimental to social cohesion as a rigid class society. Democratically-elected governments are more incentivised to serve the interests of those who vote than those who are politically disengaged.  Since middle class people have higher levels of political engagement, this may contribute to a vicious circle in which people from disadvantaged backgrounds withdraw their support for democracy altogether. In other words, the passing down of disengagement across generatations may lead to a permanent and alienated ‘political’ underclass.

This is why the Nuffield Foundation has funded our project, entitled “Post-16 Educational Trajectories and Social Inequalities in Political Engagement” (April 2020 to September 2021), which aims to investigate: (more…)

Is wellbeing among teachers in England lower than in the rest of the UK?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital16 March 2020

John Jerrim.


The latest set of results from the TALIS 2018 study are about to come out. These will, among other things, present new evidence on how teachers’ mental health and stress levels compare across more than 40 countries. 

While England takes part in TALIS, the rest of the UK does not. This is unfortunate, as it is becoming increasingly difficult to compare education systems across different parts of the UK, despite these comparisons sometimes being the most interesting.

This prompts the question – how exactly does the wellbeing of teachers vary across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales?

(more…)

We know teachers in England work long hours. But are they distributed equally?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital12 March 2020

John Jerrim.
We have written before about how teachers in England work longer hours, on average, than teachers in other countries. And this is an active area of government policy in England.

But the distribution of working hours of teachers also matters. Are some teachers not pulling their weight, while others are having to work excessive hours to cover for their workshy colleagues?

Although this is the case in some countries, England is not (more…)

PISA 2018 suggests gender gaps in reading are closing. But I am not celebrating

Blog Editor, IOE Digital14 January 2020

Francesca Borgonovi.

Results from PISA 2018 reveal a persistent gender gap in favour of 15-year-old girls in reading. On average, across 35 OECD countries with comparable data, this gap was 39 points in 2009 but ‘only’ 30 points in 2018 – i.e. the gap narrowed by 9 points. 

I should be celebrating, but I won’t. PISA results in fact suggest that, on average across OECD countries gender gaps in reading closed because the performance of girls declined, rather than because the performance of boys improved. Even more worryingly, the decline appears to be especially pronounced among poorly achieving girls. 

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Will adult learning keep its sharp focus on employment and qualifications or can it become an ‘inseparable aspect of citizenship’?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital12 December 2019

 

Jay Derrick.

Exactly 100 years ago, it was argued in the 1919 Report, published by the Government Ministry for Reconstruction after World War 1, that Adult Education was essential for a confident, fair and democratic society. Its central recommendation was:

‘Adult education must not be regarded as a luxury for a few exceptional persons here and there… but a permanent national necessity, an inseparable aspect of citizenship, and therefore should be both universal and lifelong’.

Three separate Commissions on Lifelong Learning have published their reports in the last few weeks, and a fourth, a Parliamentary Inquiry, published its oral and written evidence in October.

The timing of these reports – by the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, and also a politically-independent Centenary Commission, is striking. Rates of participation in learning activities among adults have fallen dramatically over the last decade, and the decline is sharpest among those who have benefitted least from their schooling

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Voter turnout: how the education system widens the social class gap

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 December 2019

Jan Germen Janmaat and Bryony Hoskins.

The low turnout of young people in elections is a persistent problem in many Western democracies. In the UK, turnout among  18 to 24-year-olds in the last two general elections was almost half of that of pensioners.

Although there has been a surge in voter registrations among the under 35s for the 12 December elections, we don’t know if this will translate in actual votes. 

Amidst all the debate about youth participation, few scholars look at differences among young people. In our new book we focus on social class differences in political involvement among young people. We argue that the education system only widens these disparities. 

(more…)

‘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.

(more…)