Prof Jim Ridgway
Jim studied psychology at Sheffield University, then worked as a programmer and systems analyst in London, until suffering a chronic attack of ennui induced by wealth and boredom. Escaping to academia, he next worked as a research fellow at Lancaster University on a project improving the selection of jet pilots, then as a lecturer and reader in the Psychology department, teaching cognitive and applied psychology. He joined the School of Education in 1998. Jim now directs the SMART Centre at Durham and a large collection of publications, including curriculum materials and interactive data visualisations, can be downloaded from that website (www.dur.ac.uk/smart.centre).
He is chair of the International Statistical Literacy Programme (ISLP) working party on statistical literacy (SL) for citizens and journalists, and is a member of the Technical Advisory Group for the Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistics Education. Jim was a member of the OECD expert panel developing tests for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIACC), and has been an adviser to the group developing national tests for the Swedish National Agency. He served on the ESRC Research Priorities Board, and on the ESRC Teaching and Learning Initiative committee. Jim has been a co-director of the Mathematics Assessment Resource Centre, based in the USA and UK, and has been involved in the design and implementation of large scale assessment systems in the USA. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction and, Co-ordinator of the Assessment SIG.
Jim is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, and a Fellow of the RSA.
Jim's research focuses on reasoning with evidence, data visualization, thinking and problem solving, equity issues, assessment, and educational change. I am particularly interested in public understanding of arguments that involve data.
The SMART Centre creates novel interfaces to present multivariate data, and populates them with interesting data on topics such as educational attainment, sexually transmitted diseases, riots, drug and alcohol use by young people. We study spontaneous statistical thinking, and the development of reasoning with evidence in students aged 12-18 years, and beyond. The centre has created curriculum materials to develop thinking skills, applicable in geography, citizenship, and sociology, as well as in mathematics. Other materials to support thinking skills include work for the Bowland Trust on plausible estimation in mathematics in KS3, and for the National Institute for Science Education in the USA on mathematical thinking for undergraduates. They have worked with European colleagues on 4 funded projects which investigated the problems of gender imbalance in STEM subjects (including ICT), funded by Socrates and the Life Long Learning EU programmes. Work on assessment has been wide ranging, and includes the development of computer based World Class Tests for QCA, designed to identify pupils who are particularly good at problem solving in science and mathematics (used in 20+ countries), reviews of e-assessment, design and implementation of large scale assessment systems in the USA, and acting as an advisor on national and international programmes, as well as on job selection problems in industry. Work on educational change includes developing approaches to whole school ICT, and work on Tools for Change, funded in the USA by the National Science Foundation. On a rather grander scale, I was co-designer and tutor on the first OECD workshop for their Global Project aimed at policy makers.
My current interests focus on the semantic web – how recently available large data sets and dynamic visualisations can be used, how they will change political and personal decision making, and how new sorts of social science can be promoted on, about, and using the web. A current research project (funded by ESRC) is a collaboration with the Office for National Statistics aimed at stimulating the use of 2011 census data for public debate and national policy.
Completed Supervisions (since 2008)
- Educational psychology
- Gifted and talented children
- Mathematics education
- Technology in education
Journal papers: academic
- Ridgway, J., Nicholson, J. & McCusker, S. (2007). Teaching Statistics - Despite its Applications. Teaching Statistics 29(2): 44-48.
- J. Ridgway & S. McCusker (2003). Using Computers to Assess New Educational Goals. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice 10(3): 309-328.
- M. Richardson, J.-A. Baird, J. Ridgway, M. Ripley, D. Shorrocks-Taylor & M. Swan (2002). Challenging minds? Students' perceptions of computer-based World Class Tests of problem solving. Computers in Human Behavior 18(6): 633-649.
- J. Ridgway, J.S. Zawojewski & M.N. Hoover (2000). Problematising Evidence-based Policy and Practice. Evaluation and Research in Education 14(3/4): 181-192.
Journal papers: professional
- J. Ridgway, S. McCusker & J. Nicholson (2006). Reasoning with data- time for a rethink? Teaching Statistics 28(1): 2-9.
- Ridgway, J., Nicholson, J. & McCusker, S. (2011). Developing Statistical Literacy in Students and Teachers. In Teaching Statistics in School Mathematics - Challenges for Teaching and Teacher Education: A Joint ICMI/IASE Study: The 18th ICMI Study. Batanera, C., Burrill, G. & Reading, C. Springer. 311-322.
- Ridgway, J. & McCusker, S. (2008). PREMA: Evidence from Six Countries. In Promoting Equity in Maths Achievement - the current discussion. Chionidou-Moskofglou, M., Blunk, A., Siemprinska, R., Solomon, Y & Tanzberger, R. Barcelona: University of Barcelona. 23-32.
- J. Ridgway, Z. Zawojewski, M. Hoover & D. Lambdin (2003). Student Attainment in the Connected Mathematics Curriculum. In Standards-based School Mathematics Curricula: What Are They? What Do Students Learn?. S. Senk & D. Thompson New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. 193-224.
- J. Ridgway, M. Swan & H. Burkhardt (2001). Assessing Mathematical Thinking Via FLAG. In Teaching and Learning Mathematics at University Level- An ICMI Study. D. Holton & M. Niss Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 423-430.
- J. Ridgway (2001). Tools for Change- Building the Knowledge Base for Macro-Systemic Change. In Information and Communication Technologies in Education: The School of the Future. H. Taylor & P. Hogenbirk Dordrect: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
- J. Ridgway (2000). The Mathematical Needs of Engineering Apprentices. In Education for Mathematics in the Workplace published by Kluwer Academic Publishers (eds) Bessot, A and Ridgway, J. A. Bessot & J. Ridgway Dordrect: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 189-197.
- Ridgway, J. (2008). Challenge: coping with complexity. Envisioning education in the context of social and technical change - what sorts of education systems, methods and institutions do we need to help people deal with complexity?.
- J. Ridgway, S. McCusker & D. Pead (2004). Literature Review of E-assessment. Bristol: Futurelab.
Journal papers: online
- Ridgway, R. & Ridgway, J. (2010). Crimes against Statistical Inference: Forcing Teachers to be Accessories after the (Absence of) Fact. Online Educational Research Journal 11.
- Ridgway, J., Nicholson, J. & McCusker, S. (2007). Reasoning with Multivariate Evidence. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education 2(3): 245-269.
- Ripley, M., Harding, R., Redif, H., Ridgway, J. & Tafler, J. (2009). Review of Advanced e-Assessment Techniques (RAeAT) Final Report. Joint Information Systems Committee.
- Ridgway, J. & McCusker, S. (2009). Challenges for Research in e-Assessment.
- J. Ridgway & the MARS Group (2005). Finding Patterns and Relationships; Using Representations; Making Sense of Evidence; Optimisation; Providing; Finding Relationships in Data. Manchester: Granada Learning, Granada Learning.
Available for media contact about:
- General policy: assessment
- General policy: educational change
- General policy: thinking skills
- Subject specialists: mathematics education
- Subject specialists: use of computers in school