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CMRE Annual research digest 2015

Evidence-based policy has become somewhat of a catchphrase in politics – everybody is for it and nobody is against it. But there is evidence and there is evidence. For long, education policy has unfortunately been guided by research of poor quality, which in turn has contributed to confusion regarding what works and what does not work to generate higher pupil outcomes.

In order to disseminate high-quality academic research to a wider audience, the CMRE has for the past year produced a free, monthly research digest. It is intended to give interested parties a direct view into the policies and practices that rigorous research (often economic) suggests work, and do not work, in education – both from a macro-policy perspective as well as from the point of view of teachers and headteachers who are looking for more effective classroom strategies. The digest includes abstracts of interesting studies, together with links to free versions of those studies. The abstracts are also accompanied by one ‘Editor’s Pick’, which comments on a selected study that the editor thinks deserves a slightly longer treatment and analysis.

In this annual digest, we have invited some influential researchers to reflect on a piece of research they think should be acknowledged and discussed in education policy circles. We hope you will find it useful and that you will subscribe to our monthly digest in the coming year.

Download in .pdf version here.

 to subscribe to the monthly digest.


‘Mobile Phones in the Classroom: Examining the Effects of Texting, Twitter, and Message Content on Student Learning’ – Jeffrey H. Kuznekoff, Stevie Munz, and Scott Titsworth

       – Commentary by Daisy Christodoulou

‘Can personality traits and intelligence compensate for background disadvantage? Predicting status attainment in adulthood’ – R. I. Damian, R. Su, M. Shanahan, U. Trautwein and B. W. Roberts

       – Commentary by Dale Bassett

‘Does Management Matter in Schools?’ – Nicholas Bloom, Renata Lemos, Raffaella Sadun and John Van Reenen

       – Commentary by Henrik Jordahl

‘An RCT evaluation of the Numeracy and Literacy project’ – Jack Worth, Juliet Sizmur, Rob Ager, and Ben Styles

       – Commentary by Jack Worth

‘“Variation problems” and their roles in the topic of fraction division in Chinese mathematics textbook examples’ – Xuhua Sun

       – Commentary by Tim Oates

‘School Vouchers: A Survey of the Economics Literature’ – Dennis Epple, Richard E. Romano, Miguel Urquiola

       – Commentary by James Croft

Download in .pdf version here.

About the authors

Dale Bassett is Head of Product Reform at AQA awarding body. Previously at AQA, he was Director of Public Policy, and prior to that Research Director at the think tank Reform, where he led on research into public service reform, specialising in education policy.

Daisy Christodoulou is the Research and Development Manager at ARK Schools (Absolute Return for Kids). A Teach First graduate, she taught English in two London comprehensives. She is the author of Seven Myths about Education.

James Croft is Executive Director of the Centre for the Study of Market Reform of Education (CMRE) and the author and co-author of several of its reports, including ‘Collaborative overreach: why collaboration probably isn’t key to the next phase of school reform’ (2015).

Dr Henrik Jordahl is Associate Professor of Economics at Uppsala University, and Programme Director at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) in Stockholm, where directs the research program ‘The Economics of the Service Sector’.

Jack Worth is Research Manager at the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). As part of the NFER Education Trials Unit, he managed the evaluation of the University of Oxford Improving Numeracy and Literacy programme, a large cluster-randomised trial in primary schools. Previously he was Researcher at the Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO).

Tim OatesCBE, is Group Director of Assessment Research and Development at Cambridge Assessment. He is a member of Ofqual’s Standards Advisory Group and following the publication of his paper ‘Could do better’, offering a framework for reform, was chair of the Expert Panel for Review of England’s National Curriculum.

Download in .pdf version here.