The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education

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How do you solve a problem like impact?

One of the more positive consequences of the darkening clouds of economic downturn for charities such as NFER has been a greater emphasis on impact: understanding it, measuring it, communicating it. In the face of reductions in funding, it becomes ever more important to be able to demonstrate that precious resources are being directed in the best possible way.

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It worked for me

Love it or hate it, Twitter is the place to go if you want a good argument.  Tristram Hunt seems not to be a fan, criticising in yesterday’s Guardian “Twitter-fuelled orthodoxies of left and right, with both sides displaying decreasing interest in evidence-based policymaking”.  One clash last night centred on the merits of a particular teaching intervention Mantle of the Expert. In the blue corner, @andrewolduk led the charge against, with his and his team-mates’ arguments ranging from “it looks mad” through to a more reasoned “where’s the evidence?”  And in the red corner, @debrakidd and others understandably rankled against the first of these arguments (perhaps the shadow education secretary has a point). It’s the response to the second argument I’m particularly interested in though: “It worked for me”. Continue reading


Education: National saving or investment?

With George Osborne’s spending review imminent, difficult choices are being made on how to prioritise funding for public services, with the current ring-fencing of school budgets being questioned by the likes of Reform.  It has therefore never been more important for spending decisions to be based on solid evidence. With this in mind, NFER has this month produced a special issue of its journal, Educational Research, on Value for Money in Education. Continue reading