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Durham University

Durham University Evidence Centre for Education (DECE)


Helping school attainment

Educational systems all over the world want to improve the educational attainment of their populations. Considerable efforts and investments have been put into achieving this aim. We are continuously looking at ways in which educational systems can progress through proven programmes and by improving the quality of teaching and teachers.

Tackling disadvantage

Our research has provided evidence that has informed policies for tackling disadvantaged communties. Our research in DECE covers a wide range of issues that are relevant to overcoming disadvantage. Innovative reseach methods and approaches have helped us in understanding the underlying reasons for the patterns of attainment by poverty. Our research is developing evidence-based practice in tackling disadvantage and overcoming the impact of poverty on people's life.

Enhancing non-cognitive outcomes

We take the wider outcomes of education seriously, including but beyond attainment and cognitive development, to issues such as mental health, well-being, attitudes and aspirations, personality, trust and civic participation. We have produced evidence on a number of popular interventions in which educational outcomes were targetted through tackling non-cognitive constructs.

Widening participation

Widening participation in post-compulsory education, tackling social exclusion and lifelong learning have long been a concern of UK governments. At DECE we have experts in this field who have conducted a wide range of research relating to analysis of data on admissions to higher education, strategies to promote participation, fair access and social inclusion.

Improving research

This is an important theme.At DECE we take the quality and trustworthiness of research very seriously. One of our aims is to improve the quality of research through robust evaluations of programmes used in schools, systematic reviews and meta-analysis and through constantly thinking of ways of improving the methods of research.

Evidence into practice

We are devising and developimg techniques to engineer trustworthy research results into usable formats, such as CPD resources, toolkits and learning materials. We evaluate and monitor their impact over a substantial time period, with the aim of clearly improving both educational effectiveness and justice. We are conducted systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials of some of these approaches.

International challenges

We have conducted projects in developing countries and provided evidence on challenges such as poverty, educational inequalities, access to school education and the exclusion of girls. We are building networks and partnerships in organisation in LMICTs to develop robust evidence and support active groups through building their research capacity. We have strong links with South America, Southern Africa and South Asia.