CEM’s work is rooted in the tradition of sound evidence-based research.
Academics and research teams from CEM work regularly with education organisations across the world on a variety of projects, from one-off specialist reports, to substantial research and evaluation commissions that cover several years and involve vast data collation and processing resources.
One of the largest educational research units in a UK university, CEM publishes a range of papers and reports that are used to advocate improvements to teaching practices.
CEM also maintains one of the largest educational data banks in the country, a substantial and invaluable volume of statistical data which has been collected for over two decades.
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We support 'Evidence-Based Education' - the idea that educational policy and practice should be guided by the best evidence about what works. Click here for more information.
As well as conducting research and evaluation, CEM also provides specialist services to the public and private sectors.
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CEM’s research has made world-leading contributions in areas including:
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Title: Assessing primary school children: Does a child’s social and cultural background have a differential impact on their performance across different assessment measures?
Authors: Sue Stothard, Gideon Copestake, Lee Copping and Catherine McKenna
Paper accepted for presentation at the 18th annual AEA Europe Conference, 2017.
Frequent educational assessment is standard practice in England. For example, during primary school (ages 4-11 years) formal assessments include: baseline check of cognitive skills on school entry, assessing phonics at age 6, and measuring English and maths at age 11. Test results are used for a variety of purposes, including school accountability, identifying additional support needs, checking pupil progress, and selection for academically selective schools. There is an implicit assumption that assessments are fair and unbiased. However, are all assessment formats equally fair and valid for all children? Here we report the results of a study examining the performance of a large cohort of children (N=4707) on formal educational assessments from age 6-11 years. We investigate the impact of demographic variables (e.g., gender, additional language learning, ethnicity, social deprivation) on test performance, and test for possible interactive effects between demographic variables. Children from disadvantaged homes and children speaking English as an additional language gained significantly lower mean scores than their classmates on all test measures, and were consistently under-represented amongst the highest attainers. Correlations between measures were also weaker for disadvantaged groups. We explore the role assessments might play in maintaining group biases, and discuss implications for educational policy.