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Evidence for excellence in education


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Putting a Premium on smooth moves to and from secondary school

By guest bloggers Kerry Martin, Senior Research Manager and Tami McCrone, Research Director (Impact).

‘Parents’ greatest fears when their child starts secondary school are that they will be bullied or will not do well, rather than whether they will smoke, drink or use drugs, a survey has revealed. But their offspring’s number one concern is making the right sort of friends as they make the transition to their new environment, the same findings show.’ Continue reading


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Work experience: let’s look beyond the photocopier

By guest bloggers Sarah Lynch, Senior Research Manager and Tami McCrone, Research Director (Impact).

The recent publication of advice to help schools, colleges and other training providers deliver quality work experience post-16 by the Department for Education (DfE) was very welcome – particularly as this advice was informed by our evaluation of the 16-19 Work Experience Trials. Continue reading


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RCTs in schools: making the case for ‘fair tests’

By guest blogger Ben Styles, Research Director

When we were at school we learned the concept of a ‘fair test’; the notion that if we wanted to discern the effect of something, we need to keep everything constant apart from the thing we are testing. Historically, for much of the research into effectiveness of classroom interventions, this simple idea has not been adhered to.  Groups of students who received the intervention have been compared to others who cannot be regarded as equivalent, or in some cases there has been no comparison group at all. Continue reading


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Why low adult numeracy shows the number’s up for navel gazing

There are few surprises for England and Northern Ireland among the results from the International Survey of Adult Skills, the most recent large scale assessment of adult competencies, published today. The reports for England and Northern Ireland – produced by the International Comparisons team here at NFER – contain both good news and issues of deep concern, with the data raising more questions than it answers. NFER will certainly be looking to answer some of these questions over the coming weeks and months, and let’s hope others also take time to dig deep into what is a rich seam of data, to start unravelling some of the complex stories it contains – not least how qualifications translate into skills and how those skills translate in the job market. Continue reading