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Interventions are Necessary but N ot Sufficient. Peter Tymms. Outline. A quick look backwards The need for interventions Two recent eye openers Alternative perspectives Conclusions For teaching For policy making. Historically. Education was an evidence free zone

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outline
Outline
  • A quick look backwards
  • The need for interventions
  • Two recent eye openers
  • Alternative perspectives
  • Conclusions
    • For teaching
    • For policy making
historically
Historically
  • Education was an evidence free zone
  • Experience, opinion and good ideas ruled
  • Two example examples
    • Kenneth Baker
    • Estelle Morris
interview of lord baker with giles dinot on 18 february 2011
Interview of Lord Baker with Giles Dinot on 18 February 2011
  • Q: One criticism was that the National Curriculum just “taught to test”; is there a problem with that?
  • A: I went to a Church of England primary school during the war in Southport. I’ve still got the little report books, and there they are, marks out of 100. I was quite clever in those days. I was being tested every term. And I took it home and showed my mother and father.
estelle morris education secretary
Estelle Morris: Education Secretary

When in office she did not base any action on research but took considerable notice of the Daily Mail

the need for interventions
The need for interventions
  • Consider
    • £500 million on the National Literacy Strategy with no detectable impact
    • Etcetcetc
  • World wide recognition of the issue
    • Campbell Collaboration
    • USA
      • What Works Clearing House
      • Slavin’s Best Evidence
    • John Hattie
    • Tool kit
    • CEM, Durham
meta analysis
Meta-analysis
  • Example: use of digital technology to increase literacy in middle schools. (2005)
points to note
Points to note
  • Overall: ES=0.49
  • Variation of impact of interventions
  • Need to know more ….
  • But we now have a best estimate
first eye opener
First eye opener
  • Slavin et al 2014
  • Cooperative Learning in mathematics has been shown to be effective in the USA
  • Tried a large RCT in England
    • And failed “most surprising”
  • Tried again with a revitalised approach
    • And failed again
second eye opening
Second eye opening
  • Lemons et al 2014
  • Five RCTs of the efficacy of KG Peer-Assisted Learning on reading program.
  • Over 9 years involving 2,591 students.
  • Early results very positive and widely reported
  • Most recent results
    • Failed
  • Team: “shocked and depressed”
explanations
Explanations
  • Slavin et al
    • “Differences between traditional teaching practices in England and in North America”
    • “Teaching methods proven to be effective in one culture and system cannot be assumed to be effective in another.”
  • Lemons et al
    • “The changed context”. The bar had been raised in KG.
    • “the change agent - a no-nonsense Chief Instructional Officer”
    • The controls were different
a further complication
A Further Complication
  • We live in a complex interactive world.
  • Even deterministic worlds are not predictable
    • http://www.math24.net/double-pendulum.html
  • But patterns appear (strange attractors)
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAJkLh76QnM
  • Error propagation is the cause and it is summed up in the Dynamic linear model.
the nature of teaching
The nature of teaching
  • Great teaching involves
    • Planning
    • The ability to ditch Plan A and go to Plan B
    • Dealing with idiosyncratic
      • children
      • classes
  • Integrating professional judgement with scientific evidence
  • The bottom line
    • Academic progress
    • Positive non-cognitive progress
some features of policy making
Some features of policy making
  • Making big decisions.
  • John Maynard Keynes
    • "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"
  • But U-turns are bad news
    • “The lady’s not for turning”
    • Are “Reforms as Experiments” conceivable?
  • Time scales are long
propositions
Propositions
  • Teachers:
    • must have up-to-date evidence
    • must interact and collect feedback continuously
    • must not be held to account for processes
    • progress is the bottom line
  • Policy makers should:
    • accumulate & generate evidence
    • run pilot projects for proposed policy initiatives
    • spend large sums only when with evidence
    • must monitor
    • be held to account for consequences