Educational Research

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Online ISSN: 1469-5847
Publications
Article
Background: Developmental dyscalculia is a heterogeneous disorder with largely dissociable performance profiles. Though our current understanding of the neurofunctional foundations of (adult) numerical cognition has increased considerably during the past two decades, there are still many unanswered questions regarding the developmental pathways of numerical cognition. Most studies on developmental dyscalculia are based upon adult calculation models which may not provide an adequate theoretical framework for understanding and investigating developing calculation systems. Furthermore, the applicability of neuroscience research to pedagogy has, so far, been limited.
 
Article
J. K. Backhouse (1976) and R. Wood (1978) discussed methods for determining grades on a common scale for 2 groups offering a common paper in an examination. The present paper reports a study that attempted to replicate Backhouse's work using data from a larger sample of students ( N = 675) who were candidates for an operational mathematics examination and to implement the alternative technique outlined by Wood. In a reassessment of the problem, the present authors reject the prescriptive use of statistical techniques to award grades in differentiated examinations and introduce some alternative suggestions (e.g., "benchmarking" and teacher estimates). (10 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Studied the acculturation of 465 Asian students (aged 13–15 yrs) and compared the findings with those from a sample of 98 students (aged 14–25 yrs) used by P. A. Ghuman (1974) to construct and validate an acculturation scale. Analysis showed significant differences between the 2 samples; the reliability of the acculturation scale was found to be 0.83 and the Cronbach alpha was 0.78. These values are high for this type of instrument. The present sample scored higher than the 1974 sample, indicating a greater degree of acculturation. In the present sample, girls scored higher than boys, Hindus and Sikhs scored higher than Muslims, and Ss from nonmanual backgrounds scored higher than those from manual backgrounds. The acculturation scale is appended. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Assigned 36 children (aged 9–10 yrs) to take part in a computer-language task 3 times: 1st while working alone, then as a member of a pair, and again while working alone. Pairs were boy–boy, boy–girl, or girl–girl pairs; half of the pairs were instructed to cooperate, and half were asked not to cooperate on the task. Performance measures and informal observations show that work on the computer task produced a disadvantage for gender-mixed pairs and a general improvement in performance for pairs instructed to cooperate. Instructions to cooperate had the least effect on the performance of the mixed pairs, and had a limited effect on pairs of girls. While girls tended to cooperate whether instructed to do so or not, mixed pairs showed little evidence of cooperative working. Pairs of boys showed the greatest gains on measures of keyboard activity and problem-solving effectiveness when organized in cooperative pairs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examined the effects of lined paper on the legibility of children's writing and on the creativity of their written work. Results show that lined paper aids legibility and does not interfere with creativity. (3 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
A review of a number of studies carried out over the past 20 yr. on the problem of school phobia. It is concluded that research is needed to establish which part of the school life is most difficult for the school phobic child to bear, and the extent of recovery from this problem of the various children who have been treated for school phobia. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
The standard of English of Hong Kong students is a matter of considerable debate. Academics, business people and others bemoan the deterioration of English-speaking skills and the declining quality of students. Explanations for this situation include the introduction of mass education, the lack of trained English teachers and an exam-centred curriculum. Yet, little research has been undertaken concerning student intellectual ability and English skills. This short report examines the English skills of 146 undergraduates using the ACER Word Knowledge Test - Form F , and their abstract reasoning ability using Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices. The results show that Hong Kong students, while low in English skills are superior in intelligence. Although exploratory and subject to qualification, the research has implications for the teaching and continued use of English in Hong Kong schools and universities.
 
Article
This paper reconsiders three sources of evidence that have been presented to suggest that polarization of pupils both between and within schools is increasing, thus creating an increasingly divided system of 'winners' and 'losers'.The project from which this paper emerges has shown, in an analysis over ten years of all schools in England and Wales, that schools are becoming more mixed in terms of their social composition in many respects. Despite this reasonably comprehensive evidence, it has been argued by others that polarization is taking place below the level of the indicators used in our analysis (polarization by stealth), or thatwhile school compositions may be converging, school outcomes are definitely diverging, both within and between schools. The primary evidence presented for these three arguments is reviewed here, and it shows that none of the objections has any serious empirical foundation as yet. Of course, evidence may emerge in the future, and so the paper concludes by suggesting a few ways in which research in this area might proceed.
 
Article
This research report describes the development of dance attitude scales which were 'grounded' in the opinions of groups of 11-16-year-old pupils in six schools throughout England. Factor analyses involving an initial sample of 368 male and female secondary school pupils produced four embryonic scales which were then tested with a sample of 1,668 adolescents. Satisfactory internal reliability coefficients were achieved and scale intercorrelations provided evidence of the scales as distinct measures. Further analyses undertaken to test validity employing data from the larger sample indicated that two of the proposed scales, Ballet and Male Dancers, may be valid measures of attitude, although less confidence can be placed in the third and fourth scales. Suggestions are made for the development and application of the inventory.
 
Article
Cross-relationships among a Taiwanese seventh-grade biology teacher's beliefs, practices and classroom interaction with either male or female students were qualitatively and quantitatively analysed. Results show that the teacher's classroom practices reflect her teaching philosophy, which she described in interviews held before and throughout the class observation period. Gender-based characteristics clearly play an important role in establishing and maintaining differences in interactions between male or female students and their teacher in this particular classroom. Data collected from classroom observations show that the subject teacher's beliefs concerning boy/girl differences in learning style and classroom participation are reinforced or sustained by her behaviour, which includes unequal distribution of direct questions, unbalanced feedback and encouragement, and a lack of restrictive controls on calling out answers.
 
Article
This paper is drawn from a study of 10-12 year-old children's stories, the specific purpose of which was to provide a means of investigating the influence of television and videos on children's imagination. Faced with the need to understand nearly 500 stories from their authors' points of view, that is interpreting the authors' meanings and intentions rather than constructing my own meaning as a reader, I found myself wondering how the 'reading' of these texts was to be undertaken. The paper describes the technique I devised for this task and what I found it could reveal about the subtlety, complexity and multiple meanings that can often be discovered in children's stories.The potential power of such an approach to reading children's writing raises issues about the assessment of school writing.
 
Article
This paper reports on a study which investigated the support needs of pupils in mainstream school with a chronic illness or physical disability. The research was carried out in three local education authorities covering both rural and urban areas. In-depth, qualitative data were collected from 33 pupils in secondary school; 58 parents of primary and secondary school pupils; and 34 primary and secondary school teachers. Overall, the data from young people suggest variability in the support offered to pupils by teachers, even by teachers within the same school, and highlights the importance of teachers' awareness and understanding of special health needs. A number of areas where young people need support from teachers were identified, including: dealing with school absence; taking part in school activities; peer relationships; explaining the condition to other pupils; and having someone to talk to about health-related worries. Data from teachers and parents indicate that school staff need assistance with obtaining health-related information; ensuring health-related information is passed between and within schools; providing emotional support; the provision of medical care; and coordinating support for this group of pupils. The implications of the findings for teachers, schools and educational policy are discussed.
 
Article
A method for linking classroom evaluations to specific physical properties and for comparing the evaluations of different groups is described and illustrated. Thirty-five college classrooms were photographed and shown to 20 professors and 51 undergraduate students, each of whom evaluated the friendliness of and their overall preference for all the classrooms. Seven physical properties of the classrooms were reliably assessed by independent observers. Using a modified Brunswik lens model, the relations between the physical properties and the evaluations by the two groups were established and compared. Between 40 and 57 per cent of the variance in the evaluations could be explained from only three classroom properties: view to outdoors, seating comfort and seating arrangement. Evaluations by the students and professors were surprisingly similar, an encouraging sign for classroom designers.
 
Article
This paper draws upon a series of linked projects that focused on the induction of new teachers. Newly qualified teachers' (NQTs) experiences of induction are drawn upon to explore the potential implications of new regulations that are currently being implemented in England. It is argued that policy, as it has developed since the mid-1990s, has increasingly emphasized a discourse of 'performance management'. Attention is also drawn, however, to the way that NQTs and their mentors may be influenced by a discourse that emphasizes staff membership, 'belonging' and NQTs' capacity to contribute to development of their schools. It is suggested that the new regulations may be only one strand of induction that is woven into a complex pattern of relationships in which NQTs must locate themselves.
 
Article
Socio-demographic and bibliometric techniques were used to investigate factors which are associated with the visibility of Mexican educational researchers accredited as national researchers by the National Researchers System (SNI). The SNI CD-Rom was used to analyse their socio-demographic data. We also searched major educational databases: British Education Index, Canadian Education Index, ERIC, Arts & Humanities Search and Social SCISearch in order to determine researchers' performance in terms of their visibility. The results showed not only the researchers' impact, but also the areas of educational research carried out in Mexico. Socio-demographic characteristics were identified.
 
Article
This paper outlines the range of school improvement interventions and programmes currently in operation. It summarizes the main features of those school improvement programmes that have been shown to work in practice. It also highlights the limitations of contemporary school improvement programmes and argues that school improvement needs to be more rigorously conceptualized and evaluated. The paper concludes by suggesting that future school improvement work needs to be more carefully matched to the needs of different types of schools. It also suggests that future development in the field should be premissed upon what works in practice, rather than what fits in terms of political expediency.
 
Article
National governments and employers have argued that it is important for all sectors of education to prepare individuals who are able to think well and for themselves. 'Good thinking' and 'thinking well' are commonly used terms bound up with what is called 'critical thinking' in the research literature. Evidence is presented in this paper, however, which suggests that not all students may be good at critical thinking; nor do some teachers appear to teach students 'good thinking' skills. A review of the research literature in this area was undertaken and the methods and conceptions of teaching likely to inhibit and enhance critical thinking are outlined, as well as what is required to improve students' thinking skills. Ways forward in teaching critical thinking, and in helping students to learn to think well and for themselves, are described and discussed.
 
Article
This paper reports on data relating to management and leadership derived from a survey of all the female headteachers in England and Wales. The quantitative data presented here are complementary to previous research on gender in education which has tended to be qualitative. The use of the Gray paradigms in the research instrument has allowed an empirical redefinition of the 'feminine' style of management, but the research confirms that the majority of the female heads use a collaborative and 'people-oriented' style of management. In addition, the key values promoted by the headteachers are related to achievement and respect for all.The headteachers generally make themselves available to staff and spend a considerable proportion of their time in school outside their office. They tend to encourage staff development, often through individual consultation, but only a minority make special provision for the development of female teachers. Male resentment of female leadershipwas found to be relatively prevalent and the majority of the women felt they had to 'prove their worth' as a woman manager. Despite the difficulties encountered, once the women had achieved headship, they were aware that there were advantages in being a woman headteacher. They reported the ability to defuse 'macho' behaviour, the benefits of being unusual and therefore singled out and the fact that girls, mothers and female teachers found them approachable. The relative disproportion of female secondary headteachers raises issues of equity. However, in view of the effective management style of the majority, the question is also raised of the potential loss of leadership to our schools.
 
Article
Background When an exam question is read, a mental representation of the task is formed in each student's mind. This processing can be affected by features such as visual resources (e.g. pictures, diagrams, photographs, tables), which can come to dominate the mental representation due to their salience. Purpose The aim of this research was to investigate the effects of visual resources in exam questions and, in particular, to investigate how and when students use images and whether subtle changes to these salient physical features can affect whether a question is understood and answered in the way intended by the question-setters. Sample The participants were 525 16-year-old students, with a range of ability, in four secondaryschools. Design and methods Experimental test papers were constructed including six questions based on past examination questions and involving graphical elements. For five of the six questions, two versions were designed in order to investigate the effects of changes to visual resources on processing and responses. A sample of the students were interviewed afterwards. Results Where two versions of a question were trialled in parallel, the differences in the visual resources significantly affected marks for one question and had smaller effects on marks and the nature of answers with some of the others. There were mixed views from students over whether a visual resource that is not strictly necessary should be used. Some considered it reassuring, whilst others deemed it unnecessary. Evidence in the literature suggests that caution may be needed since there is a risk that some students may pay too much attention to the image. Findings from one question (question 6) indicated that visuals can increase the likelihood of students making unhelpful interpretations of a question. Students were seen to have sensible expectations regarding when to use information from a visual resource and what is important in an illustration. In addition, more use tended to be made of a technical diagram (in question 12) in comparison to pictures or sketches, and it was found that if an image provides a clue to an answer, this may be used in preference to information in the text. Evidence regarding the use that students made of a table (question 1) indicated that the data in the table cells were given more attention than some of the preceding text and text in a header. This might apply similarly to other resources like graphs and charts. Conclusions It is important to ensure that the inclusion of a visual resource is carefully considered and appropriately designed. If a visual resource is not strictly needed in a question, the writer will need to balance the advantages and disadvantages. Authors should also consider whether and how students are likely to use or be affected by the particular visual resource chosen. The findings and suggested implications of this study are most applicable to high-stakes testing but may also be useful to those preparing school textbooks and to teachers in their preparation of classroom materials.
 
Article
The current global movement in the reform of education seems to focus on a number of issues that include standards, quality and teacher preparation. With regard to the latter, while teacher education curricula in most parts of the world attempt to strike a balance between content and professional training, the emerging scenario is that of training expert teachers. Three types of knowledge identified as necessary for expert teaching are content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. For Hong Kong to embark on a satisfactory and effective public education reform, it is essential that its most valuable human resource (i.e. teachers) must be comprehensively and adequately developed. Attention must be paid to both pre-service and in-service to raise an excellent quality-oriented teaching force. Teacher educators and researchers make important and well-informed decisions about what should be included in pre-service and in-service teacher development programmes. However, it is also important to take into account the teachers' own perceptions about the areas in which they feel confident and knowledgeable and those inwhich they do not. One practical avenue of sourcing such information is the teacher in training who is learning to acquire and display expertise. This paper reports on an investigation using a sample of 183 science and mathematics trainee teachers. A 60-item instrument, the Science and Mathematics Expert Teacher Preparation Survey (SMETPS),was developed to gather data on trainee teachers' perceptions of their current knowledge and what they think they need to know to become expert teachers. The data, analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics, indicated some of the areas in which trainee teachers identified the need for future professional development that would contribute towards expert training. Several issues which emerged from the results are discussed, with reference to implications for current efforts in expert teacher training.
 
Article
This paper aims to explore the complex relationship between self-image and community membership. It draws on an in-depth case study,which was originally part of a larger study examining the factors which contribute to pupils’ quiet, withdrawn and non-participatory behaviour in school. Based on observations and interviews collected during her last two years in primary school, this paper explains Rasheeda’s habitual non-participation in school in terms of her limited and unchanging self-image and her failure to perceive herself, and be perceived as, a member of a learning community.
 
Article
As part of an extended study into school assessment practices the use of verbal reasoning tests and their possible contribution to measuring pupil progress is being investigated. One phase of the study has involved testing the stability of individual verbal reasoning scores over time. The findings of this phase are presented here and located within the broader context of intelligence testing. The discussion concludes with a number of questions relating to the use of pupils’ academic achievements as appropriate measures of school success. The ongoing work considers how pupil success could be measured fairly, taking into account individual pupil differences, including both genetic and socio-economic factors. The work being developed has potential for both formative and summative assessment procedures and also as a tool for reporting the achievements of individual pupils and educational establishments. The full work will be published in due course.
 
School roll and number and percentage of schools pupils were received from or sent to
What information secondary teachers identified receiving from feeder primary schools
How primary teachers identified information about physical education was exchanged with associated secondary schools (in rank order)
Article
The purpose of this study was to identify how information about physical education is exchanged between secondary schools and their respective feeder primary schools, what information is exchanged and how this information is used. A secondary purpose was to look at whether there is any relationship between schools engaging in liaison activities and exchanging information about physical education, and between exchanging information and the number of associated secondary schools to which pupils are sent or feeder primary schools from which pupils are received. Questionnaires were sent to 177 secondary and 538 feeder primary schools. Responses from 80 secondary schools and 299 primary schools showed that the highest percentage of teachers exchanged information through written documentation, followed by discussion at cross phase liaison meetings. The type of information exchanged by the highest percentage of teachers was identified as generic information about key stage 2 and 3 of the National Curriculum for Physical Education (NCPE) areas of activity and schemes of work, rather than information about the specific physical education content covered or information about individual pupils, such as levels of attainment or ability. Further, results suggest that information may be used for pastoral purposes and that only a small percentage of teachers used the information exchanged to plan for continuity and progression in the physical education curriculum. There was a significant positive relationship between engagement in liaison activities and information received about the physical education curriculum followed by pupils, but a significant negative relationship for primary teachers between the number of different secondary schools to which pupils' progress and knowledge about the key stage 3 schemes of work that Year 6 pupils will follow in their associated secondary schools. These results are discussed in relation to continuity and progression in physical education in the transfer of pupils from primary to secondary schools.
 
Article
Reports the prevalence of persistent absence from schools in Sheffield over a three-year period. The schools studied were all in relatively disadvantaged areas and absence increased sharply in the students' final year. While persistent absentees are high risk for delinquency, most were not known to the police as offenders. (JOW)
 
Article
Abstract Background In the Australian state of Queensland, many Department of Education Policies include behavioural directives for school teachers, whereby “the teacher must…” behave in a certain manner. The introduction of an Education policy, such as the mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse by teachers, has significant and wide-ranging implications for the lives of children. However, little is known, and little literature has been found, about student-teachers' knowledge and understanding of these new behavioural directives for teachers. Purpose This study audits Bachelor of Education (Primary School) student-teachers who are about to become qualified teachers, on their knowledge, and their confidence in that knowledge, of their Department of Education behavioural directives on child sexual abuse mandatory reporting policy, which they will soon have to implement when they are employed in professional teaching positions in Primary Schools. Sample A 4th-year, final-semester, volunteer cohort of 52 Bachelor of Education (Primary School) student-teachers at a major university in Queensland, Australia provided this sample of 42 females and 10 males whose ages ranged from 21 to 45 years. Design and methods The audit's 5-page anonymous and confidential questionnaire included a series of valid statements, and one invalid statement, about the behavioural directives for teachers contained in the Queensland Department of Education Policy on the mandatory reporting of suspected child sexual abuse. Participants self-evaluated their knowledge of the Policy on a quantitative 3-point scale, and their confidence in that knowledge on a 4-point scale, and then responded to an open-ended qualitative query about their understanding of the Policy, during their tutorial classes. The quantitative responses were analysed and displayed as histograms, and the qualitative responses were clustered into three categories. Results Analysis of the data shows that while the majority of these student-teachers claim satisfactory levels of knowledge and confidence concerning their Department's behavioural directives, such results seem disappointing given a necessarily high standard of competence, and significant numbers indicating uncertainty of knowledge and/or lack of confidence regarding their roles as mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse. Conclusions It is expected that all new teachers be properly equipped and prepared in pre-service training, with appropriate knowledge and understanding of these important directives, to report the cases of suspected child abuse they will encounter in their schools. Current pre-service education of Primary school teachers at this university in Queensland, and very likely throughout the state, does not reach a standard that engenders educators' satisfaction and confidence in student-teachers' understanding of their Department's behavioural and legal requirements upon qualification. This conclusion is consistent with national and international research (See Baginsky & Macpherson, 2005; Hawkins & McCallum, 2001; Laskey, 2004) showing that teachers and student-teachers lack confidence and are inadequately prepared to fulfil their role as mandatory reporters of child sexual abuse. Yes Yes
 
Article
Incl. bibl., abstract. The paper considers the relationship between social deprivation and special educational needs in the context of wider issues of social deprivation and achievement. Data were obtained from a large-scale survey of almost 300 key stage 2 teachers in 46 primary schools in England. The results show a very strong negative relationship between poverty in the population served by schools and overall levels of achievement in the school. They also show a clear, although less strong, positive relationship between poverty and the levels of special educational needs in schools.The analysis suggests that, to some extent, teachers are judging special educational needs with reference to achievement levels in their school. It also shows that the impact of poverty on special needs is largely mediated through the influence of poverty on achievement generally.The exception to this pattern is in the area of discipline problems which correlate very highly with poverty levels and where the correlation is additional to the association with achievement.The paper suggests that the register of special ducational needs is not a good basis for resourcing special needs, and that resource allocation for special educational needs need not, for the most part, be treated separately from resourcing to address inequalities in achievement more generally.
 
Article
A study of a sample from the Youth Cohort Study of England and Wales compared socioeconomic background and achievements in fifth-year examinations of Afro-Caribbean, Asian, and White adolescents. In addition to differences between groups, considerable within-group differences associated with gender and socioeconomic status were found, perhaps even more influential than ethnic differences. (SK)
 
Article
Incl. tables, graph, abstract and bib. This is a study of the educational achievements of graduates of an experimental school in comparison to those of a regular school. The experimental school aims to enhance school effectiveness in coping with individual differences and to mediate between private and public knowledge. A quasi-experimental method was used. The results show an advantage for all graduates of the experimental school (i.e. the excellent, average and slow) in most of the variables measured: test results, skills, self-efficacy and motivation. We suggest that the overall systemic framework of the experimental school contributed to its increased effectiveness.
 
Article
Consciousness of the distance between scientific research traditions in education and classroom practice has now become a presupposition of educational action research. The reasons for this distance are located in, and explained by, the reflexivity of knowledge, which draws attention to the hitherto unacknowledged personal element in knowledge claims: they reflect value‐preferences, hidden agendas and hidden assumptions. Therefore an emphasis has been placed by many recent action researchers on the self of the investigator as an influence not simply on the outcomes, but also the language and techniques of the research. Many see the self as becoming, rightly, the main focus of the action research project, and indeed the main focus of valid educational research as a whole.
 
Article
Incl. bibl., abstract. This paper focuses on one aspect of the work of Education Action Zones (EAZs) that has been neglected by emerging research, namely their efforts to tackle social exclusion and empower a more representative set of parents to become involved in policy-making processes for education in their localities. Data from three EAZs across the country are presented to demonstrate that empowerment of parents through zones is restricted. Instead, the interests of educational professionals, and to a lesser extent those parents who have previously been socially and politically active, predominate across EAZs. The paper claims that the assumptions pervading the discourses of powerful coalitions across EAZs and their discursive competencies are actually presenting a barrier to wider parental empowerment in the form envisaged in policy texts and the rhetoric of ministers.
 
Article
The purpose of this paper is to address methodological issues arising out of the conceptual problems associated with the study of job satisfaction. It does not aim to present research findings, but refers to those findings which elucidate the conceptual and methodological issues raised. The paper identifies the ambiguity of the meaning of job satisfaction, emanating from the distinction between the meanings of 'satisfactory' and of 'satisfying'. It is suggested that neglect of this ambiguity, along with a more general prevalent conceptual vagueness, has led to problems of construct validity in much research in this field. The importance of this ambiguity issue in relation to construct validity is demonstrated by examples from the author's own, and from other, qualitative research. Addressing the problems identified, a reconceptualization of job satisfaction is suggested, focusing upon a bifurcation into two constituents: job fulfilment and job comfort. Finally, ways in which the research process may be improved to reduce threats to construct validity are discussed.
 
Using associated information to generate predictive rules
Article
Data from a survey to determine student attitudes to their courses are used as an example to show how genetic algorithms can be used in the analysis of questionnaire data. Genetic algorithms provide a means of generating logical rules which predict one variable in a data set by relating it to others. This paper explains the principle underlying genetic algorithms and gives a non-mathematical description of the means by which rules are generated. A commercially available computer program is used to apply genetic algorithms to the survey data. The results are discussed.
 
Article
The literature reports that cheating is endemic throughout the USA. However, lacking are international comparative studies that have researched cheating differences at the post-secondary business education level.This study investigates the differences between Russian and American business college students concerning their attitudes, perceptions and tendencies towards academic dishonesty. The study found significant differences between Russian and American college students' behaviours and beliefs about cheating. These findings are important for business educators called to teach abroad or in classes that are increasingly multinational in composition.
 
Article
Background and purpose: Many holistic anti-bullying interventions have been attempted, with mixed success, while little work has been done to promote a 'self-help' approach to victimisation. The rise of the ICT curriculum and computer support in schools now allows for approaches that benefit from technology to be implemented. This study evaluates the cross-cultural effects of a computer-based anti-bullying intervention on primary school-aged children's knowledge about bullying and relevant coping strategies. Programme description: FearNot! is an interactive computer-based virtual learning environment designed for use as an anti-bullying intervention. It includes interactive virtual agents who assume the most common participant roles found in episodes of bullying. FearNot! was used by children over three consecutive weeks to allow its effectiveness to be evaluated in a longitudinal in situ programme. Sample: Two comparable samples were drawn from the UK and Germany. In the UK, 651 participants (aged 8-11) were recruited from primary schools in Hertfordshire, Coventry and Warwickshire, whereas the 535 German participants (aged 7-10) were sourced from Grundschulen in the Bayern and Hessen regions. Because of lack of parental consent, late joiners and absences/missing responses, data from 908 participants (UK 493; Germany 415) were analysed. Design and methods: A quasi-experimental, pre/post-tests control group design employed pre-published and bespoke questionnaires to collect data. Descriptive and inferential analyses were conducted. Results: UK students possessed higher coping strategy knowledge scores than German participants, but German children's scores improved over time and as a result of the FearNot! intervention. Conclusions: Overall, while not effective at increasing children's coping strategy knowledge in this study, the FearNot! intervention could prove a useful classroom tool to approach the issue of bullying as part of a wider initiative. Cultural differences at baseline and reactions to the intervention are discussed.
 
Article
The truism that boys are better than girls in mathematics has been challenged in recent years. In this review, evidence for discrepancies in performance is examined. Arguments suggesting that spatial ability is a primary genetic factor in mathematical achievement are considered, as are arguments based on social conditioning. It is concluded that, although spatial ability may affect performance, girls' diminishing achievement can largely be accounted for in social terms. Attitudes, rooted in the cultural milieu and reinforced by society, are probably the determining factor in whether or not girls succeed in mathematics.
 
Article
Background: This article considers the impact of pupils studying for entry-level qualifications on their intentions of remaining in education. Such qualifications are intended to re-engage young people who are performing below expected levels and give them the opportunity to learn at a pace that suits them.Purpose: This article specifically attempts to estimate the impact of entry-level qualifications on a group of 14–16-year-olds approaching the end of compulsory schooling in England. The central research questions addressed in this article were; how do the aspirations and post-16 destinations of young people who have taken such qualifications compare with other similar young people who have taken more traditional qualifications, and is there any evidence of such qualifications being beneficial to those young people with lower levels of prior attainment?Sample: Roughly 10,000 students surveyed longitudinally within the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE).Design and methods: Initial data regarding the aspirations of young people was collected from the young people at age 13 or 14 in 2004. Details of the qualifications studied and achieved over the next two years were then collected from the National Pupil Database (NPD). At the end of two years, information regarding their aspirations was collected again. Data collections in subsequent years detailed whether young people had actually continued in education after the end of compulsory schooling at age 16. Multilevel modelling was used to examine the relationship between the qualifications studied by young people and their subsequent aspirations and destinations.Results: Overall, there were no differences between the outcomes of young people taking entry-level qualifications and similar young people who did not. However, the models revealed a statistically significant interaction between taking entry-level qualifications and prior attainment, suggesting a positive association between such qualifications and outcomes for those with low levels of prior attainment.Conclusions: There is some evidence that entry-level qualifications may be useful in re-engaging low-achieving young people in education.
 
Article
The ORACLE project is one of the most extensive pieces of classroom observation research in Britain. In this article one part of this research, the analysis of teachers' questions, is examined in detail. We argue that the rules ORACLE use for identifying different types of question involve levels of ambiguity and inference that threaten the reliability and validity of the study's major findings. We also examine the implications of some of the sampling decisions made by the ORACLE team. Our conclusion is that serious methodological problems remain unresolved in ORACLE, but that these are shared with most other research in the field. There is an urgent need for these problems to be tackled directly and systematically.
 
Article
This metadata relates to an electronic version of an article published in Educational research, 2009, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 213-228. Educational research is available online at informaworldTM at http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a911262168 Background: In 2008 primary education in England reached, historically, another important phase in its development. Government reviewed the primary curriculum and some aspects of the national system of assessment. These government reviews coincided with an independent Primary Review based at the University of Cambridge to which the authors of this article contributed one of the research surveys. Purpose: The main aim of the article is to review research and other evidence about the development of national curriculum assessment in England since 1988. Some historical background is also provided about the period pre-1988. Sources of evidence: The main source of evidence is significant research studies that have shown the impact of national curriculum assessment on teachers and pupils. Main argument: The evidence shows that there were gains in national curriculum test scores up to 2000 but that they then plateaued. The research evidence reveals a number of negative consequences of the implementation of a 'high stakes' national assessment system in England. Conclusions: It is concluded that greater emphasis on appropriate formative assessment strategies would be of benefit to pupils. The replacement of a high stakes assessment system with a system of sampling in order to evaluate educational progress nationally is also recommended.
 
Article
Incl. abstract, tabl. Background From 2002 onwards, initiatives and first steps for the project International Comparative Analysis of Learning and Teaching (ICALT) have been taken by the inspectorates of education in England, Flanders (Belgium), Lower Saxony (Germany) and The Netherlands. The inspectorates of education in these European countries reviewed the results of research on the basic characteristics of good and effective teaching and selected standards and indicators for an observation instrument that could be used to evaluate the quality of teaching. The inspectorates from these countries jointly developed an instrument to observe and analyse the quality of learning and teaching in primary schools. Purpose The observation instrument was piloted for reliability and inter-rater reliability, and for validity, in the four countries. Sample Mathematics lessons in England, Flanders (Belgium), Lower Saxony (Germany) and The Netherlands were observed in 854 classrooms, with children who were about 9 years old when they started the school year. Design and methods Inspectors in the four countries were trained in the proper use of the observation instrument, and used the instrument during their own inspections or evaluations. Results This study shows that the quality of teaching in the four countries can be compared in a reliable and valid way as regards five aspects: 'efficient classroom management', 'safe and stimulating learning climate', 'clear instruction', 'adaptation of teaching' and 'teaching-learning strategies'. Conclusions It is found that only a few percentage points of difference between teachers are due to differences existing in the four countries. Furthermore, it may be concluded that the five aspects of quality of teaching are positively and significantly correlated with pupil involvement, attitude, behaviour and attainment.
 
Article
The five papers in this collection consider a range of important issues in relation to the English national curriculum assessment system (NCA). In responding to these articles, Jannette Elwood considers some of the issues the authors have raised generally in relation to a revised English NCA, but also more specifically she considers them from a Northern Ireland perspective in relation to a new revised curriculum and assessment programme that is being rolled out into schools since September 2007. (Contains 5 notes.)
 
Article
Incl. tables, abstract, bib. Longitudinal studies can provide individual histories of educational attainment and are becoming widely used in educational research. Two national longitudinal studies, the National Child Development Study (NCDS) and the British Cohort Study of 1970 (BCS70), are used here to investigate changing trends in the educational attainment of children in the UK over time. Multilevel modelling is used to examine variation between different social groups in attainment in mathematics and reading and to examine educational progress during secondary education; the results of these analyses are compared for the two different cohorts. In both cohorts, the main source of variation in achievement is due to differences in social background; differences between regions and local education authorities are found to be negligible. Changes in the mathematics and reading attainment of the different social groups between the cohorts reflect recognized trends in educational attainment and highlight some trends not previously reported.
 
Article
Background information: During the late 1970s and the early 1980s, West Germany witnessed a reversal of gender differences in educational attainment, as females began to outperform males.Purpose: The main objective was to analyse which processes were behind the reversal of gender differences in educational attainment after 1945. The theoretical reflections and empirical evidence presented for the US context by DiPrete and Buchmann (Gender-specific trends in the value of education and the emerging gender gap in college completion, Demography 43: 1–24, 2006) and Buchmann, DiPrete, and McDaniel (Gender inequalities in education, Annual Review of Sociology 34: 319–37, 2008) are considered and applied to the West German context. It is suggested that the reversal of gender differences is a consequence of the change in female educational decisions, which are mainly related to labour market opportunities and not, as sometimes assumed, a consequence of a ‘boy’s crisis’.Sample: Several databases, such as the German General Social Survey, the German Socio-economic Panel and the German Life History Study, are employed for the longitudinal analysis of the educational and occupational careers of birth cohorts born in the twentieth century.Design and methods: Changing patterns of eligibility for university studies are analysed for successive birth cohorts and gender. Binary logistic regressions are employed for the statistical modelling of the individuals’ achievement, educational decision and likelihood for social mobility – reporting average marginal effects (AME).Results: The empirical results suggest that women’s better school achievement being constant across cohorts does not contribute to the explanation of the reversal of gender differences in higher education attainment, but the increase of benefits for higher education explains the changing educational decisions of women regarding their transition to higher education.Conclusions: The outperformance of females compared with males in higher education might have been initialised by several social changes, including the expansion of public employment, the growing demand for highly qualified female workers in welfare and service areas, the increasing returns of women’s increased education and training, and the improved opportunities for combining family and work outside the home. The historical data show that, in terms of (married) women’s increased labour market opportunities and female life-cycle labour force participation, the raising rates of women’s enrolment in higher education were – among other reasons – partly explained by their rising access to service class positions across birth cohorts, and the rise of their educational returns in terms of wages and long-term employment.
 
Article
This report is the first part of a wider research project intended to evaluate the role of supplementary school in supporting pupils’ educational progress. This study reports on the first phase of this research An attitude survey to find out what young people think about mainstream and supplementary education, about the core subjects of reading and mathematics, about themselves as learners and about their reasons for attending supplementary school.. Pupil questionnaires were sent to all schools who were successful in being awarded grants from the support service. Schools were asked to administer the questionnaires to ten nominated pupils within the school, although they could give the questionnaire to more than 10 pupils if they chose. Questionnaires were returned from a total of 772 pupils attending 63 supplementary schools in four major cities in England. This is the first study to systematically explore the attitudes of pupils attending supplementary school in England and is the largest ever study of supplementary schools and their pupils.
 
Article
The present study examined possible changes in the computer experience and attitudes of 11-12-year-old and 15-16-year-old students following a period in which ICT has become much more widely used in the school curriculum. In comparison with findings from a similar study undertaken in the early 1990s, there was some evidence of a reduced gender gap, particularly in the use of computers for applications such as word-processing, graphics, programming and maths. In addition, more recently introduced applications such as e-mail, accessing the internet and using CD-ROMs showed no overall gender difference in frequency of use. However, some gender differences remained, particularly in attitudes. Boys still liked computers more, were more self-confident in their use and, unlike previously, sex-typed them less than girls. They also used computers more frequently out of school, particularly for playing games. There was some evidence that, as found previously, older girls held the least positive attitudes, and it is suggested that their approach to computers may be influenced by the cultural pressures of gender stereotyping. More general age differences in use and attitudes were also found, and these may result from the different computing applications used by Year 7 and Year 11 pupils at school. In summary, although we found evidence of some change since the early 1990s, increased exposure to computes has not closed the gender gap.
 
Impressions of positive and negative parental attitudes
Responses to: 'What my parents think of me learning French'
Article
Background The assumption that parents have some effect on their children's attitudes to learning is one that few educationalists would challenge. The ways in which this influence is brought to bear are a slightly more complex and contentious matter, however. Purpose The paper uses data from a tri-national PhD study on pupil attitudes to examine perceptions of the ways in which parents influence children's orientations towards foreign language learning (FLL). The comparative element is useful in providing a contrasting range of settings in which to examine the issue. The paper thus aims to provide some indication of the similarity and importance of particular influences by identifying features that seem significant, irrespective of setting. Sample A total of 411 learners of French, German and English (as foreign languages), represented in roughly equal numbers from across the ability range, took part in the survey. The pupils, aged 15 - 16, were drawn from two centrally located mixed comprehensive schools in each country—England, Germany and The Netherlands. The schools were similar in terms of size, social intake and their semi-urban location. Care was taken to ensure as close a gender balance as possible. Design and methods The study was designed as a qualitative survey and involved three data collection instruments. The first stage of data was collected using a written word association prompt distributed to the whole sample. The second stage involved around half the pupils generating written accounts of their attitudes and the factors they perceived to be influential. A total of 80 pupils took part in the final stage, consisting of 14 focus group interviews. A system of open coding was applied to all the data to support the process of inductive category building used in their analysis. Results The findings offer some evidence for an association between parental and pupil attitudes. Parental influence appears to operate in a number of ways, ranging from the role model potential of positive/negative behaviours and the communication of educational regrets, to the ways in which parents help to construct their children's understandings of language importance and status. The extent of parental language knowledge appears to be an important additional factor. Conclusions The evidence suggests that the ways in which parents contribute to the construction of their children's understanding of language utility are particularly important, and that this may be a key factor in the more positive attitudes demonstrated by the German pupils and the more negative orientations among the English participants.
 
Article
Background: Teachers of sexuality education can often be uncertain about what theoretical basis and pedagogical strategies to use in their teaching. Sexuality educational programmes designed by teachers can often show few evident theoretical principles that have been applied in its construction. Thus, there seems to be a dearth of evidence of ways in which teachers can use appropriate theoretical foundations in their planning and teaching in sexuality education. Purpose: This paper aims to suggest a way of providing such an appropriate theoretical framework for sexuality education teachers of young people aged 7–15 years of age. Analysis: Age-appropriate primary and middle school pedagogies based on two integrated educational theories, namely Anderson and Krathwohl's theoretical framework of learning and teaching, with Verbal Linguistic Intelligence from Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, were analysed and evaluated. Key considerations were the earlier maturing of girls and boys, findings from relevant literature about children and young people's cognitive capacities, as well as the relevance of curriculum content for upper primary and middle school students, and the concomitant need for better and earlier sexuality education. Conclusion: This approach, integrating Anderson and Krathwohl's theoretical framework of learning and teaching, with Gardner's Multiple Verbal Linguistic Intelligence, may be useful to assist health and sexuality education teachers in identifying and anchoring pedagogies in a more theoretically structured manner, thereby enhancing the quality of their sexuality education planning and teaching. Yes Yes
 
Article
Incl. abstract, tabl. bibl. Background The evidence is now quite clear that bullying in schools is an international problem. Bullying is widely regarded as a particularly destructive form of aggression, with harmful physical, social and emotional outcomes for all involved (bullies, victims and bystanders), and with particular risks for children with special needs. The research of the past 25 years confirms its widespread nature where it is most likely in groups from which the potential victim cannot escape - e.g. schools. In 1994 an Australian Commonwealth Government inquiry, following on from the pioneering work of research documented by Smith and co-workers, heralded a growing awareness of the need to address the issue of school violence, particularly bullying. Internationally, researchers have identified the impact of intervention programmes to reduce school bullying. In Australia a nationally and internationally used, systemically based intervention programme called the PEACE Pack, has previously been shown to be effective in reducing bullying in primary schools. Purpose The purpose of the present study was to provide further supporting longitudinal evidence regarding the efficacy of the PEACE Pack in markedly reducing bullying among young children of junior primary and primary school age. Further, the study also identified the characteristics of a small group of children who do not appear to benefit from intervention efforts. Finally, in this paper, a computer-based innovation for collecting school-based data regarding student perceptions of bullying is described. Sample The sample of 954 pupils comprised 458 males and 496 females from four Australian primary schools in Adelaide, a large metropolitan city in Australia. The pupils ranged in age from 5.4 to 13.5 years. Design and methods The study involved a pre- and post-test design and the administration of a questionnaire to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of the PEACE Pack programme to address the issue of school bullying. Results The interventions were effective in reducing the level of school bullying in the junior primary and primary schools, although there were variations in the gains achieved across the age range and across the four schools. Conclusions In the present study the systemic PEACE Pack interventions resulted in approximately one-fifth of pupils in the overall sample reporting that they were being bullied 'less' as a result of year-long interventions. This effect was greatest in the primary schools, particularly for boys. Consideration was given to a small group of students who reported being bullied 'more' after the interventions, and to the development of a computer-based assessment procedure for assessing the extent of bullying in schools.
 
Article
Incl. abstract, tabl. Background Australian show people traverse extensive coastal and inland circuits in eastern and northern Australia, bringing the delights of 'sideshow alley' to annual agricultural shows. The show people's mobility for most of the school year makes it difficult for their school-age children to attend 'regular' schools predicated on assumptions of fixed residence. This situation requires innovative approaches to educational provision if show children are not to be rendered vulnerable and at educational risk. Purpose The research reported here investigated whether and how the establishment in 2000 of a specialized institution, the Queensland School for Travelling Show Children, was meeting the specialized educational and sociocultural contexts and needs of the show children three years after establishment. Sample Participants in the study included the children, their parents and school and district educational personnel. Design and methods The research employed a qualitative design, highlighting naturalistic inquiry and attending to participants' words as reflections of their worldviews. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in August 2003 in Brisbane and Southport (i.e. the capital city of the state, and a large coastal city in south-eastern Queensland) with 35 people: 20 children in two groups; six parents; seven staff members from the school; and two leaders of state education. Interview data were analyzed by means of close textual reading of the transcripts and through identification of recurrent themes. Results The results presented are that the principal discourses of vulnerability associated with the show children derive from the anti-nomadic assumptions and attitudes that constitute sedentarism - the centuries-old process by which permanent residence is constructed as 'natural' and 'normal' and mobility is positioned as 'deficit' and 'deviant'. The study's findings demonstrate that this process has become allied with a hegemony of risk rhetoric, whereby the uncontested dominance of taken-for-granted assumptions about the vulnerability of certain groups can potentially function to capture and control the show children's 'difference'. By contrast, the Queensland School for Travelling Show Children emerges from the analysis of the interview data as a vehicle for subverting that hegemony through its construction of an alternative system of schooling in which the children's mobility is 'the norm' and their 'difference' is the basis of creating new and transformative understandings of the purposes and forms of education. Conclusions The main conclusion is that identification of children who are 'at risk' or 'vulnerable' needs to be placed in the broader context of their sociocultural positioning. If this positioning constructs them as 'deficit' or 'deviant', as with the sedentarist view of the Australian show children, it must be critiqued and subverted if its practice of schooling is hegemonic rather than transformative.
 
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