Seminars and Events

All events are held at 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY unless otherwise stated.

All are welcome to those indicated as ‘public seminars’ in parentheses after the title. These are held on Monday evenings and there is no need to book. If you are coming from outside the Department and would like to attend any of the other seminars or events, please contact the convener(s) beforehand.
Click on the title of the event for further information.

The educational progress of looked after children in England: linking care and educational data

23 October 2017 12:30 - 13:45
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Nikki Luke, Department of Education

Convener: Professor Steve Strand, Quantitative Methods Hub

In a recent study (Sebba et al., 2015), we investigated the relationships between young people’s experiences in the care system and their educational achievements in secondary school. In this presentation I will focus on the quantitative aspect of the study, which linked the English National Pupil Database and the data on Children Looked After for a cohort of young people who completed exams in 2013. The presentation will cover the key factors that contributed to young people’s educational outcomes, including individual characteristics, early environment, and experiences in care and at school. Some of the challenges of working with these administrative datasets will also be discussed.

If “The Youth of the Country are the Trustees of Posterity” (Benjamin Disraeli, 1845), do we need to do more to support young people who are NEET in the UK? (Public Seminar)

23 October 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G/H

Speaker: Professor Sue Maguire, University of Bath

Convener: Professor Ewart Keep, SKOPE

While some nineteenth century commentators pointed to the social divide that existed, in terms of children’s access to a basic education and their predisposition to experience early labour market exploitation, the challenge currently facing policymakers is to reduce unacceptable levels of social and economic exclusion that threaten to blight many young people’s lives. The purpose of this seminar will be to provide a greater understanding of the label ‘NEET’ (not in education, employment or training), with regard to why the term was first adopted in the UK and why an increasing cohort of young people are assigned this status. It will examine policy initiatives, in terms of early intervention programmes in schools that are aimed at preventing young people from becoming NEET, reintegration or ‘remedial’ programmes, and active labour market policies. Ongoing research undertaken at the University of Oxford highlights a disparity across the four countries within the UK, relating to the support and intervention currently offered to young people in the NEET group. Finally, the continued relevance of the term ‘NEET’ and whether it is helping to disguise, rather than highlight, present levels of youth disengagement will be discussed.

Sue Maguire is Honorary Professor at the Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath, Associate Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) and a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Social and Economic Research (CASE) in Poland. She has been engaged in policy-related research focusing on education, employment and training since 1988. Her research expertise in youth transitions, and specifically the needs of disadvantaged and disengaged groups of young people, has made a significant impact on academic thinking and policy formation nationally and internationally. In the UK, she has provided written and oral evidence to select committees in the House of Commons and House of Lords and is regularly invited to advise on policy development e.g. Cabinet Office, HMT, Department for Education, the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Welsh Government.  She has published widely, including journal articles, book chapters and over 40 reports for government departments and other agencies.

Kindergarten of the future in Bavaria: program and evaluation

25 October 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room K/L

Speaker: Professor Hans-Günther Rossbach, University of Bamberg, Germany

Convener: Dr Maria Evangelou, Children Learning and FELL Research Groups

STEM and the Studio: an exploration of the role of Studio Schools in technical education

26 October 2017 12:45 - 13:45
Seminar Room B

Speaker: Ashmita Randhawa, DPhil Education

Convener: Dr Jason Todd, Qualitative Methods Hub

In an effort to promote continued innovation and productivity, the English government has called for a renewed focus on the development of STEM skills. Amongst the surge in new institutions that appear to respond to this call, Studio Schools are a new type of establishment that delivers a 14-19 curriculum blending the academic curriculum with technical specialisms. Designed to tackle the twin challenges of missing skills and youth disengagement, 28 of the 36 Studio Schools open at the time of writing are in fact, STEM-focused. All Studio Schools, in particular, STEM-focused schools, have enjoyed a high degree of parliamentary support; yet, very little is actually known about the role that these schools play in the diverse and busy landscape of English technical education.

This talk will outline the background to and the initial data collection for a multiple case study that seeks to understand how the enactment of STEM policy has shaped the role of Studio Schools. Data collection (semi-structured interviews) for the preliminary study was conducted at two different STEM Studio Schools to build understanding and context for this innovative type of education. Findings from the interviews indicate that the role of the Studio School and the very model itself is in flux; shaped by local, regional and national policies - there is no ‘typical’ STEM Studio School. It was also evident that the role STEM Studio Schools play is, in reality, dependent on the perspective from which they are viewed. These findings are discussed in detail in this talk, with an explanation of how they have been used to guide the design of the larger case study.

Culturally responsive pedagogy: shifting ideas, shifting practice

26 October 2017 16:00 - 17:30

Speaker: Dr Jane Abbiss, Senior Lecturer, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Convener: Dr Katharine Burn, Teacher Education and Professional Learning Research Group

What can genetically-informative research designs tell us about environmental risk?

30 October 2017 12:30 - 13:45
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Lucy Bowes, Department of Psychology

Convener: Professor Steve Strand, Quantitative Methods Hub

Longitudinal, epidemiological studies have identified robust risk factors for psychopathology, including exposure to stressful experiences such as bullying. Nevertheless, because the literature is largely based on observational studies, it remains unclear whether these risk factors have truly causal effects. A failure to adjust for all relevant confounders – including genetic confounders – will typically inflate associations between exposure and outcome. This talk will focus on quasi-experimental designs, particularly those using genetic epidemiology to show how such studies can inform our understanding of environmental risk, using examples from my own research on bullying and exposure to poor parenting practices.

English across borders (Public Seminar)

30 October 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G/H

Speaker: Dr Mario Saraceni, University of Portsmouth

Convener: Professor Ernesto Macaro, EMI Oxford

A growing amount of attention has been devoted in sociolinguistics to what we may call linguistic border crossings in the last decade or so. With clear references to sociocultural aspects of globalisation, a sizeable body of scholarship has developed specifically examining phenomena such as language hybridity, translanguaging and, in general, language practices in conditions of (super-)diversity. Especially with regard to English applied linguistics and TESOL, this can be seen as being part of a broader process of reconceptualizations of the English language as a trans-national entity which has gone on since at least the mid 1970s.

With this in mind, in my talk I will do two things:

  1. trace the history, and provide a critical overview, of the analytical frameworks within which such reconceptualizations have been theorized and discussed, such as World Englishes and English as a Lingua Franca;
  2. discuss challenges in the ways this scholarship on “English across borders” can (should?) get its message(s) across to audiences beyond the borders of academia: how do we talk about language, nationality, identity, belonging? How do we talk about language change? How do we talk about messy language data?

Mario Saraceni is Associated Head for Research in the School of Languages and Area Studies at the University of Portsmouth, which he joined in 2004. He previously worked in Bangkok, Thailand and in Nottingham, where he received my PhD in 2001. He has travelled extensively in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong), and has also conducted research and presented papers at international conferences.

Dr Saraceni's main research interest is in English and globalisation and his scholarly activity focuses on the political, ideological and pedagogical implications of the forms and functions of the English language outside its traditional "cultural base" (UK, USA, etc.). In particular, he is interested in the ways in which English is de-colonised, de-nationalised, re-nationalised, and trans-nationalised; in the ways in which it is idealised, fetishised, criticised and how all these narratives interface with the lives and the identities of those who use this language. He is interested, too, in the ways in which English is used translingually and how this invites us to re-conceptualize the very notion of 'a language'. In this area he has published several books, chapters and articles. His most recent book, World Englishes: A Critical Analysis (Bloomsbury, 2015), was awarded the British Applied Linguistics Association (BAAL) Book Prize in 2016.

First language mediated teaching strategies for EAL learners: a systematic review and exploratory randomised trial

31 October 2017 13:00 - 14:00
Seminar Room G/H

Speaker: Hamish Chalmers, Oxford Brookes University

Convener: Dr Jessica Briggs, Applied Linguistics Research Group

‘The signs of ideas’: dimensions of vocabulary knowledge in English as an Additional Language (EAL) pupils

01 November 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room K/L

Speaker: Professor Vicki Murphy, Department of Education

Convener: Dr Maria Evangelou, Children Learning and FELL Research Groups

Samuel Johnson famously said that ‘Words are but the signs of ideas’ and as such they arguably constitute the most important building blocks of Language.  Vocabulary knowledge is key to good communication and understanding for all pupils but especially so for EAL pupils who may have different levels of English lexical knowledge relative to nonEAL peers.  In this talk, I will discuss what we know about Paul Nation’s three dimensions of vocabulary knowledge - form, meaning, use -  in the context of EAL pupils, and I will argue that while EAL pupils are often as good as, or in some cases better than, nonEAL pupils on measures of form, we know far less about EAL pupils’ knowledge of word meanings and use in English.  Furthermore, the research we do have suggests there are considerable gaps between EAL and nonEAL pupils overall on these dimensions, contributing to gaps in academic achievement.  I conclude by highlighting the need for more research on these under-explored areas and greater effort in developing appropriate pedagogical approaches suitable to multilingual learners.

Helping Inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive young children to succeed at school

06 November 2017 12:30 - 13:45
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Christine Merrill, CEM, University of Durham

Convener: Professor Steve Strand, Quantitative Methods Hub

Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are behaviours that are commonly seen in young children. If children have severe and persistent difficulties, they may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This presentation will report the findings of a longitudinal study which has followed the academic progress of a large cohort (around 45,000 children) in relation to teachers’ ratings of inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive behaviours. Children were assessed at the start of Reception and followed up to the end of primary school. The presentation will also describe a cluster randomised controlled trial which evaluated the effectiveness of two school-based interventions that aimed to help inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive young children succeed in the classroom. The long-term outcomes are reported. The implications for educational policy and practice are discussed.

Stability and change in developmental language disorders (Public Seminar)

06 November 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G/H

Speaker: Professor Courtenay Norbury, University College London

Convener: Professor Victoria Murphy, Applied Linguistics Research Group

In this lecture I will present data from the Surrey Communication and Language in Education Study (SCALES), a population study of language development and disorder from school entry. From an initial population of 7267 children screened at the end of reception year, a stratified subsample (n = 529) received comprehensive assessment of language (vocabulary, grammar and narrative), non-verbal ability, and behavioral difficulties at 5-6 years of age (Year 1) and 95% of the sample (n = 499) were assessed again at ages 7-8 (Year 3). Language growth was measured using both raw and standard scores in children with typical development, children with developmental language disorder (DLD), and children with language disorder associated with other clinical conditions and/or intellectual disability.

Across the first three years of school there was strong individual stability of language scores (estimated ICC = .95). Linear mixed effects models highlighted steady growth in language (raw scores), and parallel rates of growth across all three groups. There was little evidence, however, that children with language disorders were narrowing the gap with peers (z-scores). Adjusted models indicated that while non-verbal ability, socio-economic status and behavioural skills predicted initial language score (intercept), none influenced rate of language growth (slope).

From school entry, rate of language growth was remarkably similar in three groups of children with diverse language and cognitive profiles. Importantly though, children with multiple developmental challenges were not falling further behind. These findings raise important questions about the timing and goals of specialist and targeted intervention programmes.

Courtenay Norbury is Professor of Developmental Disorders of Language and Communication at Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London. She is the Director of the Literacy, Language and Communication (LiLaC) Lab and is a qualified speech-language therapist. She obtained her PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, working with Professor Dorothy Bishop on the overlapping language profiles that characterise autism spectrum disorder and ‘specific’ language impairment. Professor Norbury’s current research focuses on language disorders in a range of neurodevelopmental conditions and how language interacts with other aspects of development. She is also one of the joint editors of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and a founding member of the Raising Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder campaign (

Cultural historical activity theory and research

08 November 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Conveners: Dr Ian Thompson and Professor Harry Daniels, OSAT

The role of input in language acquisition: Insights from computational and behavioural studies

08 November 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room K/L

Speaker: Dr Jelena Mirkovic, York St. John and University of York

Convener: Dr Maria Evangelou, Children Learning and FELL Research Groups

‘Persistence of the social’: the role of cognitive ability in mediating the effects of social origins on educational attainment in Britain

13 November 2017 12:30 - 13:45
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Erzsebet Bukodi, Department of Social Policy & Intervention

Convener: Professor Steve Strand, Quantitative Methods Hub

Marks (2014), on the basis of a summary of existing studies across a range of societies, claims that there has been a general trend towards an increasing importance of cognitive ability for individuals’ educational attainment, net of their social origins. In this paper, we challenge this claim. We pose two research questions to be addressed in the British context on the basis of birth cohort studies. First, how large is the mediating effect of cognitive ability, and is there evidence of any change in its importance over recent decades? Second, does the extent of this mediating effect change over the course of individuals’ educational careers? As regards the first question, we find that only around half of the effects of individuals’ social origins on their educational attainment is mediated via their cognitive ability, as measured in early life. There has been some fluctuation in the mediation percentage over time, but there has been no sustained increase. Moreover, this is the case regardless of how we measure social origins. As regards the second question, we show that the mediating role of cognitive ability changes little in importance as individuals’ educational careers progress, with the possible exception that it declines in the case of an educational threshold relating to upper secondary qualifications. On this basis, we would reject claims that the strong and persistent association that exists in Britain between individuals’ social origins and their educational attainment can be accounted for predominantly by differences in cognitive ability – i.e. there is a ‘persistence of the social’.

English Medium Instruction research: what do we know so far and what do we still need to find out? (Public Seminar)

13 November 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G/H

Speaker: Professor Ernesto Macaro, Department of Education

Convener: Professor Alis Oancea, Director of Research

The exponential growth of English Medium Instruction (EMI) both in Higher and Secondary Education globally has resulted in a similar growth of empirical research on the subject. Of necessity this research to date has been exploratory, single institution-oriented and lacking a clear research agenda that a more established community of practice might have ensured. In this talk I will present some findings from a systematic review of EMI that we have carried out in the EMI Oxford Centre as well as some of our own research. I will conclude with recommendations of what research still needs to be done in order to ensure that decision makers in education are fully informed of its potential dangers as well as its possible benefits.

Ernesto Macaro is Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Oxford where he is Director of the Centre for Research and Development in English Medium Instruction (EMI Oxford) in the Department of Education. He teaches on the Masters in Applied Linguistics and on the Teacher Education Program. Before becoming a teacher trainer and researcher he was a language teacher in secondary schools in the UK for 16 years. His current research focuses on second language learning strategies and on the interaction between teachers and learners in classrooms where English is the Medium of Instruction. He has published widely on these topics. Ernesto was Director of the Department of Education from 2013 to 2016.

From knowledge production and policy to professional development and practice: recontextualisation of messages about mastery

14 November 2017 16:30 - 18:00
Seminar Room G

Speaker: Professor Candia Morgan, UCL Institute of Education

Convener: Professor Gabriel Stylianides, Subject Pedagogy Research Group

In the last few years, “mastery” has become a feature of mathematics education in England. It is endorsed as an unquestionable part of government policy, and is promoted by both government funded and independent agencies providing resources and professional development for teachers. Schools and teachers identify themselves as “doing mastery”. Yet there is diversity in the characteristics of mastery and of pedagogies associated with mastery as these are manifested in texts from different sources. I shall trace some common themes and differences between discourses of mastery produced in the policy field and in the field of professional development, using Bernstein’s notion of recontextualisation to understand how and why the diversity arises.

Candia Morgan is Professor of Mathematics Education at UCL Institute of Education. She spent a number of years working in initial teacher education but now teaches mainly masters and doctoral students. Her research interests lie in the characteristics and uses of language in mathematics and mathematics education, considering how these function to construe mathematics, teaching and learning and to produce possible positions for students and teachers.

Language assessment of children from diverse linguistic backgrounds: creating tests across different linguistic and socio-cultural contexts

15 November 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room K/L

Speaker: Dr Kamila Polišenská, University of Manchester

Convener: Dr Maria Evangelou, Children Learning and FELL Research Groups

Language assessment of children with English as an additional language (EAL) poses unique challenges. Clinicians often see EAL children’s lower scores on standardised language tests as indicative of language impairment (LI), even when no impairment exists and there is only a need for sufficient exposure to English to catch up with their monolingual peers. Conversely, clinicians may use bilingualism as an excuse for poor language ability when an LI is actually present. Assessments in all of the languages spoken in the UK just do not exist, and even if they did, it would not be practical for teachers and/or clinicians (even with the assistance of an interpreter) to carry out all of the language specific assessments. Education is delivered through the medium of language and it follows that if a child struggles with the language of instruction, i.e. English in the UK, they will not be able to progress with their learning. In this session, I will introduce non-word repetition tasks and review evidence on what they can and can’t contribute to language assessment in the UK and cross-linguistically. Asking children to repeat nonsense has proved surprisingly informative about their language abilities, and has been put forward as a possible clinical marker for LI. A key motivation for developing this novel non-word repetition task, and a strength for clinical assessment, is that it taps verbal processing and memory skills rather than language knowledge and is therefore relatively unaffected by cultural and social differences. Aligned with this, I will also discuss the practical challenges of adapting a language test for particular contexts (e.g. cultural, linguistic, and social).

Developing students’ understanding of scientific models and modelling competence

16 November 2017 11:30 - 12:30

Speaker: Mei-Hung Chiu, National Taiwan Normal University

Convener: Professor Sibel Erduran, Subject Pedagogy Research Group

Understanding of nature of models and developing modeling competence in science education have gained a lot of attention in the past two decades. Studies have emphasised their core elements around models and modeling in building up their conceptual framework and examining the impact of learning outcomes via modelling instruction. Science curriculum standards (such as NGSS) also pinpointed the importance and value of cultivating students’ modelling competence in school science practices. Taiwan is also aware of this trend in science education and highlighted modeling competence as one of the core competence in learning sciences. In this presentation, I will present a series of studies sponsored by Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan, in relation to understanding of the nature of models and modelling instruction. In addition to these studies, I will also present the use of technology (such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality) as scaffolds in facilitating students’ visualisation of abstract and complex scientific concepts, and constructing meaningful mental models.

Mei-Hung Chiu is a Professor of Science Education at the Graduate Institute of Science Education (GISE) of the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU). She has a BS in chemistry (National Taiwan Normal University), Ed.M. and Ed.D. from Harvard University. She has published articles about science curriculum, students’ conceptual understanding and changes as well as mental models and modeling-based text in science learning in international well-known journals. She also co-edited or edited four books, anmely Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Madame Marie Sklodowska Curie's Nobel Prize in Chemistry by Sense in 2012; Chemical Education and Sustainability in the Global Age published by Springer in 2013, Science Education Research and Practice in Taiwan: Challenges and Opportunities by Springer in 2016; Science Education Research and Practice in Asia: Challenges and Opportunities by Springer in 2016.

Her recent research topics include (1) elicitling students’ conceptional construction and conceptual change, (2) promoting students’ perceptions on scientific models and developing model-based inquiry and modeling competence, and (3) exploring whether facial microexpression state (FMES) changes can be used to identify moments of conceptual conflict scenarios, one of the pathways to conceptual change in science learning.

She was a recipient of the Distinguished Contribution to Chemical Education Award from the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies (FACS) in 2009. With her deep involvement in science education research and practice, she was a recipient of the Distinguished Contribution to Science Education Award from Eastern-Asian Science Education Association (EASE) in 2016.

Crossing the divide: observer to participant

16 November 2017 12:45 - 13:45
Seminar Room B

Speaker: Jessica Ogilvy Stuart

Convener: Nicole Dingwall, Qualitative Methods Hub

I will be talking about the challenges of carrying out case-study research in a boarding school which will be relevant to researchers working in bounded communities. One major focus was on the impact of the host environment's cultural values on sojourners. The school I  studied held similar values to those of the sojourners (or at least values which did not prevent progress) and, as a result a third space was created in which students of all backgrounds could renegotiate identities.

I also looked at the role of curriculum in creating intercultural identities. The school had a very particular curriculum which was fascinating to study and may be of interest to others!

Who’s left? Why do some pupils appear to leave school before taking GCSEs?

20 November 2017 12:30 - 13:45
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Dave Thomson, Chief Statistician, Fischer Family Trust

Convener: Professor Steve Strand, Quantitative Methods Hub

In January 2017, Education Datalab published an investigation into pupils leaving secondary schools before reaching compulsory leaving age, and before taking their GCSEs. The analysis was undertaken using the National Pupil Database (NPD), a longitudinal record of pupils’ enrolments, attainment in national tests, attendance and exclusions in state-funded schools. In this session I will:

  • Provide a brief overview of NPD and how it was used for this purpose
  • Quantify the extent of the problem and when in a pupil’s school career it is more likely to happen
  • Identify which groups of pupils are more likely to be affected
  • Examine where these pupils go to and the GCSE outcomes they achieve
  • Identify which types of schools are more likely to engage in such practice- and why
  • Discuss the implications for school inspection and research into school effectiveness

Supporting young children's development through parenting interventions: an analysis using Theory of Change (Public Seminar)

20 November 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G/H

Speaker: Dr Maria Evangelou, Department of Education

Convener: Professor Alis Oancea, Director of Research

The role of the parent has been clearly defined in the literature as having a positive influence on children’s emotional, behavioural and educational development, more so than other factors such as maternal education, poverty, peers socio-economic status and schooling (DfES, 2003; Desforges with Abouchaar,2003). Supporting the capacity to parent is of prime interest when considering how to improve opportunities for the most disadvantaged families and their children. The presentation will address evidence on the rationale of preventative policies as well as what we know from theories about parental involvement and its role on children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development. It will attempt to shed light on what we know about supporting parents as their children’s first educators through interventions that are initiated both by the government and the voluntary sector. The presentation will use Theory of Change, as a well articulated theory of change has been seen as an effective way to an intervention’s success allowing the programme developers to describe in detail the rationale behind the development of their intervention, the theoretical framework that underpins their work, and to identify the potential causal links that might be bringing change to the agreed outcomes as a result.  The presentation will highlight two different examples of such interventions, one funded by the government and one stemming from the voluntary sector.

Maria Evangelou is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. She is the Director for MSc Education; the pathway Leader for the MSc in Child Development and Education; the convener of the Families Effective Learning and Literacy (FELL) Research Group and the co-ordinator of the Departmental Research Theme Language Cognition and Development.

Her research focuses on the evaluation of early childhood interventions; the language and literacy development of early years; parenting education and support; the methodological issues involved in research and the role of evidence-based practices in education.  Her methodological expertise covers longitudinal studies, quasi-experimental designs, mixed methods and systematic reviews.

She has led many large grants evaluating parenting programmes including the Evaluation of the Parent Early Education Partnership Project (PEEP), and the Early Learning Partnership Project (ELPP). She led the longitudinal Transition study of the EPPSE project in 2007-08. Maria was awarded the Brian Simon Educational Research Fellowship from the British Educational Research Association (BERA) for 2006/7 for the project: A systematic review on 'hard-to-reach' families.  During 2009 she led the literature review on children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development that provided part of the evidence-base to inform the review of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in 2010.  She was one of the Principal Investigators of the Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England funded by the DfE, and led the parenting strand.  She is currently involved in four research projects funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and one funded by Horizon 2020.

Evaluating the effectiveness of morphological instruction for children with reading and spelling difficulties

22 November 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room K/L

Speaker: Dr Danielle Colenbrander, University of Bristol

Convener: Dr Maria Evangelou, Children Learning and FELL Research Groups

Research suggests that instruction in the morphological structure of words can improve children’s reading and spelling skills. However, few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of such instruction for children with reading and spelling difficulties. Therefore, we ran a pre-registered randomised controlled trial comparing a method of morphological instruction called “Structured Word Inquiry” to a comparison treatment called “Motivated Reading”, which consisted of vocabulary instruction and guided discussion of written texts. In this talk, I will present preliminary results from the trial, and discuss practical issues associated with implementation of these interventions.

Cognitive interviews: peeping into children’s reasoning

23 November 2017 12:45 - 13:45
Seminar Room B

Speaker:Diana Ng, DPhil Education

Convener: Nicole Dingwall, Qualitative Methods Hub

Cognitive interviewing seeks to understand the cognitive processes of respondents as they answer questions. Various researchers have noted that cognitive interviewing contributes to both the validity and reliability of measures by providing data on the relevance and clarity of survey items. Typically used in pre-survey testing with adults, the method has only been recently adapted, using insights gleaned from child development theories, for use with children in educational settings in attempts to probe and unpack their thinking processes. In the specific area of educational testing, researchers have incorporated such methodology for investigating how children understand, think, and respond to test items. This form of cognitive correspondence in assessment is a form of validity evidence variously termed as ‘cognitive validity’ or ‘substantive validity’.

This presentation discusses the use of cognitive interviews as part of a mixed method research design to validate a scientific reasoning test instrument when administered to primary school pupils from Singapore. During the interviews, a structured interview protocol was used to find out how and why pupils interpreted and responded to the questions in the test. This presentation will share some insights into the conceptualisation and design of an interview protocol using actual transcribed responses from the interviews. There will also be some concluding comments about the implications of adopting cognitive interviews as part of an overall research design.

Trajectories of emotional-behavioural difficulties among children in care from age 5 to 11.

27 November 2017 12:30 - 13:45
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Eran Melkman, Department of Education

Convener: Professor Steve Strand, Quantitative Methods Hub

Children in care are one of the lowest performing groups in terms of academic performance internationally. Nonetheless, little is known concerning stability or change in the developmental trajectories of academic performance as well as about individual, care and school factors related to deterioration as opposed to those related to stable or improved development. Recently, however, it has become possible to link national data sets on the academic performance and care experiences of these children in England. The current study exploited this new opportunity with the goal of: a) examining the overall growth trajectory of academic performance of children in care over three points in time (ages 5, 7 and 11) during their primary school years; b) identifying distinct subgroups of young children demonstrating different trajectories of academic performance during this period; and c) examining whether children’s early individual, care and school characteristics predict their membership in these groups.  To this end, the study linked the National Pupil Database (NPD) and the Children Looked after Database (CLAD) in England for the cohort who were in their KS2 year in 2016. At the focus of this study is a subsample of 1600 children who had been in care during their early years foundation stage on the 31st of March 2010.  National assessments of literacy and numeracy at age five (Early Years Foundation Stage Profile; EYFSP), seven and 11 (Key Stage 1 and 2) were examined, as well as potential child, placement, and school predictors (e.g., ethnicity, SEN, type or length of placement, placement changes, or school size).  The presentation will discuss the findings of this nationally representative longitudinal exploration and their implications for policy, practice and the databases used to monitor outcomes.

Mediatising religious education: BBC radio and television for children and schools, c.1920s-1970s (Public Seminar)

27 November 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G/H

Speaker: Professor Stephen G Parker, University of Worcester

Convener: Dr Liam Gearon, Philosophy, Religion and Education Research Forum

Drawing upon research carried out as part of a Leverhulme Trust-funded project, this lecture provides a selective account of religious educational broadcasting at the BBC between the 1920s and the 1970s. Against the background social change, policy and curriculum developments, it examines the changing aims of broadcasters, the style, content and modes of delivery of programmes, and considers how religious education on radio and television in schools was listened to and viewed by teachers and children in the past. Amongst the larger questions to be considered will be how was the sacred depicted for children; what influences did religious educational broadcasting have upon curriculum RE, and teaching practises; to what extent did religious educational broadcasting prove a vehicle for mooted dechristianisation; and what might be said to be the successes and missed opportunities of religious educational broadcasting?

Stephen Parker is Professor of the History of Religion and Education at the University of Worcester. He has published widely on aspects of religious education in schools, and the history of religion in the twentieth century.

He is a leading contributor to developing international perspectives on the history of religious education. In addition, he has published research utilising social scientific methodologies, and on aspects of the philosophy of education and religion. Stephen is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Beliefs and Values: studies in religion and education.

The research funded by the Leverhulme Trust upon which this lecture is based, will be published in 2019 by Oxford University Press, and titled: Religious Education in British Broadcasting: a history.

Vygotsky and philosophy

29 November 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Speaker: Professor Jan Derry University College London/Institute of Education

Conveners: Dr Ian Thompson and Professor Harry Daniels, OSAT


Children Learning/FELL seminar - title to be announced

29 November 2017 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room K/L

Speaker: Dr Emma Blakey, University of Sheffield

Convener: Dr Maria Evangelou, Children Learning and FELL Research Groups

Using life story and life history methods in research on exclusion from school: the methodological benefits and challenges

30 November 2017 12:45 - 13:45
Seminar Room A

Speaker:Alice Tawell, DPhil Education

Convener: Ashmita Randhawa, Qualitative Methods Hub

2016-17 Bath interns presentations

06 December 2017 17:00 - 19:00
Seminar Room K/L

Convener: Dr Maria Evangelou, Children Learning and FELL Research Groups

Speakers: (titles to come)

  • Aghogho Omonigho
  • Bethan Thomson
  • Emma Powell

Early Career Teachers’ Professional Development Conference 2018

14 July 2018 09:00 - 16:30
Seminar Room A