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Evidence for excellence in education


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Could it be that disengagement leads to poor skills?

By Tami McCrone

Last Thursday I attended two events in London: a Demos seminar reporting on ways to re-engage disengaged young people pre-16 years old, and an OECD seminar ‘Building skills for all – a review of England’ which offered policy insights from the survey of adult skills.
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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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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