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Archive for the 'Research matters' Category

Rules of engagement: 5 takeaways for research impact from the award-winning ASPIRES project

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 July 2019

 

Tatiana Souteiro Dias and Emily Macleod

Collaboration with individuals and organisations beyond academia for the benefit of society is an increasingly important part of research teams’ activities. But how can academics achieve this when there are so many competing priorities? For Professor Louise Archer, Principal Investigator of the ASPIRES/ASPIRES 2 project – who received the 2019 ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize Panel’s Choice Award this week – investing time and effort in building long-term relationships based on trust and respect is one of the answers.

The multiple award winning team of ASPIRES, a longitudinal research project studying young people’s science and career ambitions from age 10 to 19, shared their successful impact strategies as part of the first IOE Impact Meet-up, a new series of workshops bringing together experts, doctoral students and early career researchers from the IOE to discuss how to make authentic impact a key (more…)

Getting the science straight: the schools minister’s suggestion that private schools convey little academic advantage does not stand up to scrutiny

Blog Editor, IOE Digital9 July 2019

Francis Green

A recent report from the Sutton Trust reveals that positions of public influence are still disproportionately cornered by the privately educated, with little progress since their previous report. So the Johnson – Hunt (Eton – Charterhouse) contest to be prime minister is but the tip of an iceberg. It is curious, then, to find Schools Minister Nick Gibb and genetic psychologist Robert Plomin seemingly agreeing on an ungrounded assertion: that there is little difference in the academic outcomes of state and private schooling in Britain, and that private is assuredly not worth the money.

The science is not on their side.

Professor Plomin asserts that: “Even though schools have little effect on individual differences in school achievement, some parents will still decide to pay huge (more…)

The UK’s unique scientific versions of the 7-Up series

Blog Editor, IOE Digital5 June 2019

Alissa Goodman.

I first encountered the brilliant Michael Apted 7-Up TV series as a 9 year old (pictured) in primary school, back in 1981, not long after 21-Up had been made. Instead of lessons, our teacher Miss Price let us watch TV over several afternoons. I remember watching, captivated, as the lives of the children unfolded, from (as we saw it then) tiny little 7 year olds, through to awkward teenagers, and into late 1970s youth.

Some of the captivation was simple: the mystery of life, and what happens next, resolving before our very eyes. But there was also a more serious lesson: that our social and economic circumstances from birth and onwards fundamentally shape our lives, and who we become. (more…)

There’s more than one way to get a PhD: enhancing women’s career opportunities in HE

Blog Editor, IOE Digital6 December 2018

 
Ginny Brunton. 
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that women in academic careers earn on average some 16% less than men. The Times Higher Education reported that 30 institutions had mean average pay gaps in excess of 20 per cent per hour, noting that  more men than women occupy higher-paying senior roles. While the gap has gradually been decreasing, there substantial questions about career advancement for female research staff remain.
Many of these challenges are well-known: women take breaks to have children, and often return part time. When women do pursue higher education to advance their career, they report doing it later in life, for intrinsic satisfaction, and not usually as part of a research group. So women’s trajectories and motivations for undertaking a PhD may not fit in with the standard paths currently on offer at higher education institutions. This situation is not helping to narrow the gap.
Since researchers without a PhD lack the necessary qualifications to apply for more advanced faculty positions, one question we should be asking is: (more…)

Europe: educators across the continent have always worked together

Blog Editor, IOE Digital20 November 2018

Hugh Starkey.
While politicians and pundits tear themselves apart over the Brexit negotiations, it’s worth bearing in mind that European cooperation in education precedes UK membership of the European Union.
As the UK transitions to a new political and diplomatic relationship with Europe, the London Review of Education (LRE) is planning a special feature and has put out a call for papers that reflect on, celebrate and critically appraise ways in which education has evolved in the UK and in mainland Europe in response to opportunities offered by European cooperation.
The Council of Europe, which the UK played a leading role in founding in 1950, now includes 47 member-states. It promotes educational and cultural (more…)

Making History: new journal will raise the level of debate on national identity, culture and the canon

Blog Editor, IOE Digital1 November 2018

Arthur Chapman, Hilary Cooper and Jon Nichol. 
At a time of growing polarisation among politicians and the public, when people are increasingly entrenched in their views, and with nationalism on the rise – history is surely one of the most crucial subjects in the curriculum.
That is why a new journal launched this week by UCL IOE Press is so significant. With its online open-access publishing, the History Education Research Journal (HERJ) aims to fulfil an important civic function. History education is a hotly contested area of the curriculum – prone, for example, to highly polarised and embittered political battles over canons, personal and national identity, national history curricula and cultural transmission. Here politically HERJ has a major role internationally in establishing an informed discourse with politicians and policy makers who often have limited knowledge and understanding of history beyond its role in inculcating national identity, patriotic loyalty and nationalism, in ignorance of its crucial role in educating pupils to become questioning, informed and sceptical citizens of liberal democracies. HERJ’s educative mission is to raise the power and impact of public debates on history education by (more…)

Exams shape students’ future life chances. It is vital to share our knowledge on how we set and maintain standards

Blog Editor, IOE Digital7 September 2018

Tina Isaacs and Lena Gray. 
As we wind down from a relatively calm examination season – even with the introduction of new examinations this year – some of us continue to mull over the idea of ‘standards’ in examination systems.
What does the term ‘standards’ mean, anyway? It crops up everywhere in the world of assessment. In England, exam boards and Ofqual, which offer general qualifications like GCSEs and A levels, have to try to make sure that grades have the same meaning across subjects, in different years, and even between competing exam boards – a Sisyphean task that is fraught with technical challenges. This is an area in which assessment researchers like us can see our work having real impact, and there are plenty of exciting developments to shape new thinking. One of those developments is the publication on 10 September by the UCL IOE press of a new book called Exam standards: how measures and meanings differ around the world.
Standard setting in national exams is a topic of interest throughout the global assessment community, yet opportunities for information sharing are rare, given the politically sensitive (more…)

Why education research needs working papers

Blog Editor, IOE Digital29 May 2018

Alice Sullivan. 
British education journals often object to the early publication of research findings in the form of working papers (also known as preprints. But would greater use of working papers be beneficial for the health of education research in the UK?
Working papers allow authors to get early feedback on their work from their peers. They also allow us to share our findings with both academic and wider audiences quickly. Education researchers are expected to achieve ‘impact’ – or, at the very least, to communicate our findings to policymakers, practitioners and parents. These audiences need timely access to research findings. Research is publicly funded, and it is therefore reasonable to expect it to be publicly available. Yet years can elapse between the first submission of a paper and its final publication, even without allowing for rejections along the way. The growth in submissions to journals, combined with increased unwillingness on the part of overstretched academics to carry out peer reviews, has seen a crisis in both the quality of the peer-review system and its speed.
Working papers enable researchers to (more…)

Exploring what it means to be ‘evidence-rich’ in practice

Blog Editor, IOE Digital12 April 2018

Naomi Bath. 
The RSA’s Learning About Culture programme aims to develop more evidence of what works in cultural learning and to help practitioners to use evidence from their own work and elsewhere to improve their practice. At the centre of the programme is a partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) who are undertaking five randomised control trials that are being evaluated by IOE and the Behavioural Insights Team. Alongside this, the RSA aims to support schools and cultural organisations on their journey towards what we are terming ‘evidence-rich practice’. In this blog, we want to explore the origin of the term and what we mean by it.

Questions of terminology

‘Evidence-based practice’ or ‘evidence-informed practice’? ‘Evidence-engaged’ or ‘research-engaged’? One could be forgiven for avoiding these terms for fear of getting lost (more…)

What kinds of activities will encourage more students from disadvantaged backgrounds to keep studying science?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital29 March 2018

Tamjid Mujtaba
I have worked on a range of projects as a mixed-methods researcher over the years although none as quite exciting as  Chemistry for All,  a longitudinal project funded in 2014 by the The Royal Society of Chemistry. Why is it exciting? Because I am confident that both the research design along with the sentiment of  The Royal Society of Chemistry to tackle inequality in post-16 Chemistry participation will produce well-grounded evidence based policy recommendations.
The Royal Society of Chemistry have funded a £1 million five-year project with the main purpose of finding ways to widen participation in chemistry. Colleagues at the IOE and I are collaborating with partner universities to determine the effectiveness of a number of long-term innovative activities developed for schools with low (more…)