The University of Oxford Department of Education was ranked a very clear first in the Education Unit of Assessment of the Research Excellence Framework (the REF).

The Department improved its Grade Point Average (GPA) from 2.9 in 2008 to 3.57. (65% of the overall grades were 4* and 27% were 3*).

The breakdown of these results is as follows:

  4* 3* 2* 1*
Overall 65 27 8 0
Outputs 50.6 36.4 12.4 0.6
Impact 84 16 0 0
Environment 100 0 0 0

These grades were based on a submission of 39.22 FTE (85% entry). This means that on a measure of research intensity (GPA x % of staff entered) the Department was also ranked first by a considerable margin with a score of 3.04. This outstanding result testifies to a consistently high standard of collective endeavour.

Full details of the results are available at and

Research in the department

Research in the department is organised under three themes which demonstrate our focus on learning across the life-course.

Research Groups and Centres are nested within the three themes and provide opportunities for research staff and higher degree students to obtain critical commentary on ongoing research, develop their research thinking and plan new research projects.

Theme 1: Language, Cognition and Development

Research in the Language, Cognition and Development Theme focuses on different aspects of how learners develop, notably in the areas of language and literacy, cognitive reasoning, cognitive development and the impact of learning environments on developmental and educational outcomes. Research in this Theme is largely (though not exclusively) targeted at understanding these aspects of learning in child development.  A range of methodological and empirical approaches are adopted in this Theme with a strong focus on cognitive/psychological frameworks, intervention studies and an emphasis on quantitative analyses and mixed methods research.

Applied Linguistics

Welcome to the Applied Linguistics research group webpages. Our group represents a wide range of nationalities, ages, backgrounds and research interests. The aim of the group is to increase understanding of the acquisition and use of language from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. The fact that we constitute part of the Department of Education helps to shape and focus the research we conduct within a field which is relatively broad.

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Children Learning

The Child Learning Group searches for ways to offer children effective and enjoyable ways of learning to read and learning mathematics.

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Educational Assessment

The Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA) was established in October 2007 by a grant from Pearson to the University of Oxford to provide a centre for research and international development work in educational assessment.

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Families, Effective Learning and Literacy

The Families, Effective Learning, and Literacy research group (FELL) carries out cutting-edge, policy-related research on the development of children between birth and age 11.

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Fostering and Education

The Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education based in the Department of Education was established in April 2012.

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Theme 2: Policy, Economy and Society

This theme provides a focal point for social scientific research relating learning to political, social and economic contexts, within the UK, in Europe, and globally. This work draws on theoretical and methodological resources from anthropology, economics, philosophy and sociology, uses qualitative and quantitative approaches, and is undertaken from a variety of policy-relevant perspectives. Research strengths include policy developments in the field of assessment or skills development, education in the developing world, and interdisciplinary work on higher education.

Comparative and International Education

The Centre for Comparative and International Education Research (CCIER) undertakes research into the nature of educational systems, educational policy, and learning and the curriculum across several regions of the world.

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Higher Education

This Group brings together and supports research on the economic, political and social changes facing higher education, both in the UK and globally.

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Skills Knowledge and Organisational Performance

The Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) is multi-disciplinary, with staff and associates from most branches of the social sciences.

Its central aim is to examine the links between the acquisition and use of skills and knowledge, production and product strategies and economic performance – be it of individuals, organisations or countries.

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Theme 3: Pedagogy, Learning and Knowledge

This theme is centrally concerned with explorations of the relationships between knowledge and pedagogic policy and practice and with how knowledge and pedagogy interact with the ways in which learning activities are designed.  A wide range of methods is deployed, however a significant element of the work is informed by sociocultural activity theory.

The research takes forward the Department’s strategic priorities in Learning and the Contexts of Learning as well as Research on Policy.  The theme investigates: national policy and teacher education; research on the processes of teacher education; subject pedagogy; interprofessional learning; learning in new technology contexts.

Learning and New Technologies

The Learning and New Technologies research group is concerned with how new technologies may be changing the ways we learn across a range of different learning spaces, for different purposes and at different life stages.

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Subject Pedagogy

Questions of subject pedagogy, learning, and teacher knowledge are at the core of the Research Group. Each subject strand draws on its corresponding discipline as well as on other related disciplines that cut across subjects such psychology and sociology.

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Sociocultural and Activity Theory

The Oxford Centre for Socio-cultural and Activity Theory Research (OSAT) is convened jointly by Professor Anne Edwards, Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson. It focuses on research in organisations and professional practices and collaborates with researchers across the Department’s research groups to bring insights from Socio-cultural and Activity Theory (SAT) to bear on research projects.

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Teacher Education and Professional Learning

The Teacher Education and Professional Learning Research Group is convened by Professor Ian Menter. Its research programme underpins the development of teacher education at Oxford and has four strands.

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Page last modified: August 3, 2017