Skip to content

Department of Education

Viewing archives for assessment

A new meta-analysis led by Associate Professor Carolyn MacCann (University of Sydney) in collaboration with researchers from the University of New South Wales and Dr Kit Double a research fellow in the department’s Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA) has suggested that emotional intelligence can predict academic performance such as grade point averages (GPA) and assignment marks.

The study is one of the largest ever conducted on emotional intelligence, using data from 158 papers (42,529 students) to examine whether emotional intelligence predicted academic outcomes. The study identified the following three reasons why emotional intelligence is important for academic performance:

  • Emotionally intelligent students are better able to cope with academic emotions like boredom and test anxiety
  • Emotionally intelligent students form stronger relationships with other students and teachers, so have more support in times of stress
  • Emotionally intelligent students are better able to understand the social and emotional content of arts-based subjects like literature and history.

The research team also found that emotional intelligence abilities are the third most important predictor of academic performance, after intelligence and conscientiousness. In addition, emotional intelligence was more important for arts-based than science-based subjects and for males than females. The analysis also concluded that the effect of emotional intelligence cannot be explained by the greater ability and conscientiousness of emotionally intelligent students.

The study forms part of a research agenda within the OUCEA looking at the non-cognitive factors that affect performance on educational assessments.

The full findings were published in a paper titled ‘Emotional Intelligence Predicts Academic Performance: A Meta-Analysis’ in the Psychological Bulletin in December 2019, see doi:

For more information about the Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment, see: /research/oucea/ or contact Dr Kit Double ( for more information about the study.

Velda Elliott (Associate Professor of English and Literacy Education) authors a blog post summarising research on written marking for the School Education Gateway.

Access the full blog post here.

The University of Oxford’s teacher training has again been graded as ‘outstanding’ – the best possible category – by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) in its latest report, published on 14 December 2018. Inspectors found teacher training at the Department of Education to be of the highest standard in all the performance categories. The results come just ahead of the department’s 100th anniversary year, which will be celebrated in 2019.

Teacher training at Oxford University has been in existence since 1892, when the University opened (under the Non-Collegiate Delegacy) a Day Training College for elementary school teachers, where pupils were able to gain a teachers’ certificate and take an external degree. Today, the department, in partnership with local schools, trains around 180 secondary school teachers a year through its PGCE (Post-Graduate Certificate in Education) programmes in English, geography, history, mathematics, modern languages, religious education and science.

The inspection team visited the department and 12 of its partnership schools during June and November 2018 to carry out their assessments. They found the initial teacher education partnership at the department to be:

  • A unique and distinctive partnership, underpinned by a compelling and clearly articulated vision for a research-informed, partnership-led model of teacher education and professional development.
  • The recruitment processes, including the setting of pre-course research tasks to be rigorous and thorough, with almost all trainees making a flying start to their training year, leading to completion and employment rates for all subjects and groups that are, over time, well above sector averages.
  • The exceptionally well-crafted design of the course enables virtually all trainees to exceed the teachers’ standards. Typically, more than two thirds of trainees attain to a high level by the end of the training year. As a result, they make an exceptionally strong start to their NQT year, ensuring in turn that their pupils make sustained progress in their learning.
  • The partnership draws exceptionally well on the skills and experience of teachers and leaders within the partnership to enrich the curriculum studies and professional development aspects of the course. In addition, school-based mentors and university tutors work together extremely well to ensure a coherent and joined-up experience for trainees. Trainees express considerable confidence in all elements of the course, in particular the support provided by their university tutors.
  • Leaders have ensured that schools in challenging circumstances, as well as those judged to be outstanding, good and requiring improvement, are well represented in the partnership. Schools value their involvement in the partnership, especially the opportunities membership provides for staff at all levels to be involved in research activity. School leaders believe this helps to recruit and retain talented teachers and leaders.
  • The partnership takes its role in supplying high-quality teachers extremely seriously. Trainees are prepared for a long-term career in teaching, able to take responsibility for their own professional development and committed to social justice. A large number of former trainees hold teaching and leadership positions in partnership schools and, in many cases, contribute to the course as mentors.

Department Director, Jo-Anne Baird, welcomed the inspection outcome, saying that: “Ofsted have recognised the strengths of Oxford’s distinctive partnership model, with its distributed leadership and firm grounding in research-based teacher education.  All of those involved in the Oxford Internship Scheme can be rightly proud of their contribution to excellence in teacher education.”

The Oxford PGCE secondary partnership works with around 37 secondary schools in four local authorities and specialises across the 11-18 age range. A particular strength of the programme is its truly integrated approach, which acknowledges the different roles of university and schools in teacher education. This is reflected across the course structure, enabling trainees to use theory to interrogate practice and vice versa. A further feature is the way in which it has, at its heart, a model of research-informed practice which encompasses not only research about effective teaching which is drawn on to generate suggestions for practice, but also research into the processes of professional learning that is used to inform and review the structure and design of the teacher education programme itself.

Commenting on the outstanding grading, Trevor Mutton, Director of Professional Programmes at the department, said: “We are extremely proud of this achievement which recognises the unique nature of the partnership that we have with the local schools which work closely with us in both planning and delivering the PGCE programme. The Ofsted report recognises that we are producing teachers of the highest calibre who go on to make a difference to the lives of countless young people in schools up and down the country.”

The University of Oxford has been consistently designated by Ofsted as an ‘Outstanding’ provider and in 2019, the department will celebrate its 100th anniversary since the official passing of a statute creating what is known now as the Oxford University Department of Education. Originally established in 1919 to prepare teachers for Elementary and Secondary schools, the department’s contribution to the wider community has been evident since its inception and remains firmly at its core.

To find out more about teacher training at Oxford see:

To view the full Ofsted report see here: 10040487 University Of Oxford Partnership 70057 Final Report

Times Education Supplement online, 10/09/2018, Dennis Opposs

Article about how the UK’s school exam system compares to other countries notes that exam regulator Ofqual’s findings will be published in a new book – Examination standards: how measures & meanings differ around the world – which is part of a collaborative project with Jo-Anne Baird (Director of the Department of Education), Lena Gray from AQA and Tina Isaacs from London’s UCL Institute of Education.

A new report published by the British Educational Research Association and involving the department’s Senior Research Fellow, Professor Pam Sammons,  provides a critical review of  the government’s proposals for a baseline assessment of all children at reception entry, which will cost upward of £10 million.

The report ‘A baseline without basis: New report challenges the proposed reception baseline assessment in England‘ (published 4 July 2018) sets out the case against the government’s proposal to use a baseline assessment test of pupils in reception to hold schools in England to account for the progress that those pupils have made by the end of key stage 2, arguing that these are flawed, unjustified, and wholly unfit for purpose. The report goes on to state that these would be detrimental to children, parents, teachers, and the wider education system in England, and that the proposed baseline assessment will not lead to accurate or fair comparisons being made between schools because:

  • Any value-added calculations that will be used to hold school to account will be highly unreliable.
  • Children will be exposed to tests that will offer no formative help in establishing their needs and/or in developing teaching strategies capable of meeting them.

The report concluded that this an untried experiment that cannot be properly evaluated until at least 2027, when the first cohort tested at reception has taken key stage 2 tests.

The expert panel who authored the report, convened by BERA,  included: Harvey Goldstein, Gemma Moss, Pamela Sammons, Gwen Sinnott and Gordon Stobart



Article citing research conducted by Professor Pam Sammons (Professorial Senior Research Fellow)

Read now.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The REF is carried out by expert panels for each of the 34 subject-based units of assessment (UOA). The panel members include leading researchers in their fields with expertise in the wider use and benefits of research.

The four UK higher education funding bodies today announced the appointment of members to the panels for the next REF exercise in 2021. This follows a nominations process, when subject associations and other organisations with an interest in research were invited to nominate candidates. Over 4,000 nominations were made for roles across the four main panels and the 34 sub-panels.

We are delighted to report that Professor Steve Strand has been appointed to the Education Panel (UOA 23).

The Head of the Department of Education Professor Jo-Anne Baird said: “With over 4,000 nominations for roles across the panels, Steve’s successful appointment is a great personal achievement and a well-deserved recognition of his skills and expertise.

Outcomes from the REF determine the allocation of over £1 bn of direct funding into universities per year via what is termed a ‘quality-related research algorithm’.

In the last REF in 2014 the Oxford Department of Education was the highest rated Department of Education in the UK. Overall, 65 per cent of the research in education at Oxford was rated as “world-leading” and given the top rating of 4*. A further 27 per cent was rated as 3* or “internationally excellent”.

Assessment in science at KS3 has changed significantly since the abolition of the KS3 SATS in October 2008 and the subsequent introduction of the Assessing Pupils’ Progress Strategy.

This project is carrying out case studies of school science departments who are partners in the department’s Internship Scheme in order to investigate to what extent the strategy has been implemented and to explore teachers’ perceptions of its effectiveness. The findings will inform future Science PGCE seminars about assessment and are also being written up for submission to Assessment for Education.

Research Director: Judith Hillier
Funding body: Oxford University Department of Education Research Committee