The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education


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PIRLS 2016 results and the importance of teaching

By Juliet Sizmur

24 November 2010 marked a significant day for education.  As some four and five year olds were settling into their first term of school, it was also the day that former Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, unveiled his plans to overhaul education in England, publishing a new white paper, The Importance of TeachingContinue reading


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International school spending – how does the UK compare?

By Maire Williams

Over the last six months, school funding has been an almost constant feature in policy debate, from the proposed introduction of a National Funding Formula to the longer running cuts and freezes schools are facing to their budgets. However, far less has been said on how the UK compares internationally. While there are obviously some ‘health warnings’ around comparing international data, including recognising that different countries may be pursuing different priorities, international comparisons can still give us insight into how outcomes vary (or don’t vary) with expenditure.  Continue reading


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TIMSS and PISA results: Seeing past the headlines

By Ben Durbin

This blog post first appeared on the IEA blog.

Education research does not often make newspaper headlines. Even less often does it make headlines in multiple countries around the world. In just a few weeks time we will see a rare exception. Continue reading


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Subtracting calculators from maths tests doesn’t add up

By Oliver Stacey

There is considerable debate among teachers and policy makers about the appropriate role of calculators in primary school maths. Recent research at NFER looking at primary maths assessments challenges some of these conventionally held views on the impact of calculators in primary schools. Continue reading


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Our ‘world class’ science education performs a rare hat trick – reform with caution

England Joins the Elite for Maths and Science; this was the headline of a TES article in 2008English pupils reportedly ‘pulled off a stunning result in the rankings of 10 and 14 year olds across 59 countries’ in the international Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Continue reading