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Evidence for excellence in education


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Striving for ‘knowledge animation’ – can we bring evidence-informed practice to life?

By Julie Nelson

Last month, Professor Carol Campbell (University of Toronto and Knowledge Network for Applied Educational Research) and I co-hosted a round-table discussion at the International Congress for School Improvement and Effectiveness, and simultaneously issued a call for papers for a special issue of Educational Research on evidence-informed practice (EiP) in education. We were joined by researchers, policymakers and teaching professionals from many countries.

The discussion provided an opportunity to discuss the issues planned for coverage in the journal.
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The online activities of London’s young people: evidence-based tips to develop e-safety

By Karen Wespieser

To mark Safer Internet Day in 2015, the London Grid for Learning commissioned NFER to conduct a survey of 16,855 London children aged seven to 16 to find out about their online activities. This year on Safer Internet Day we can reflect on the results.
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Um, but what is an academy?

By Karen Wespieser

Over my past three blogs, I have explored new NFER data  on school choice. I have discussed how parents believe they have a genuine choice, how this choice is often influenced by local conditions and how this varies to some extent depending on household income. One thing I haven’t dwelt on though is the impact that one of the biggest education reforms this parliament has had on choice. Namely, academy schools. Continue reading


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Is baseline assessment really ‘invalid and harmful’?

By Marian Sainsbury, assessment expert, former Primary teacher, and NFER research associate

As the new baseline assessment policy develops, opinions are quickly polarising. The Department for Education (DfE) is introducing this assessment from September. Baseline assessment will take place in the first six weeks of children starting school and provides a score for measuring a pupil’s progress from the beginning to the end of primary school and beyond. Continue reading


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Green shoots at the grassroots will grow a better profession

By guest blogger Alex Quigley, Director of Learning and Research at Huntington School, York

Few subjects in education can offer the promise of a consensus of opinion. Teachers, politicians and the mass of organisations in between, rarely agree on anything. And yet, there is a small number of emerging themes on which, it seems, many of us can find common ground – such as the need for a self-improving school system. Continue reading