Nardos Tesfay

Nardos Tesfay is currently working towards a DPhil in Education.

Her thesis explores the effects of the timing, depth and duration of poverty on children’s vocabulary development in Ethiopia, and the role of educational systems in moderating that relationship. The study draws on longitudinal data collected by the Young Lives International Study of Childhood Poverty, which covers two cohorts of children over the period 2002-2017. Her research is supported by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentship and a Patrice L. Engle Dissertation Award for Global Early Child Development.

Before launching into doctoral research, Nardos completed an MSc in Educational Research Methodology (Oxford) and an MA in Economics (Saskatchewan). For several years she worked with UNICEF as a social policy officer, coordinating research and programme evaluations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Nardos is a research associate at the Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment. She is currently exploring the use of Rasch measurement theory to validate the use of standardised tests in multicultural contexts and to construct a constant metric of children’s scores for growth modelling.

Thesis title:
The effects of poverty on children’s vocabulary development in Ethiopia

Dr. Lars-Erik Malmberg and Dr. Maria Evangelou

Research interests:
Poverty effects on children’s learning
Educational protective factors for child development
Educational inequality
Modelling longitudinal data on child development
Assessment in multicultural/multilingual contexts

Tesfay, N. and Malmberg, L. (2014). ‘Horizontal Inequalities in Children’s Educational Outcomes in Ethiopia’, International Journal of Educational Development, 39, 110-120.


  • Research student

College affiliation

  • Wolfson College

Research groups

  • Families, Effective Learning and Literacy (FELL)
  • Quantitative Methods Hub