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Staff Profile

Miss Ourania Maria Ventista

Member of the School of Education

Contact Miss Ourania Maria Ventista (email at

Miss Ventista is a Doctoral Researcher and a Teaching Assistant at the School of Education at Durham University. Miss Ventista is the Head of Assessment at Evidence Based Education and she is responsible for the Assessment Academy and the Assessment Lead Programme. Miss Ventista is an Associated Doctoral Researcher of the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education. She is a student representative for the Staff-Student Consultative Committee and the Course Committee at the School of Education. Miss Ventista is a member of the British Educational Research Association (BERA), a member of the Hellenic Educational Society, a member of the Young People & Society Study Group at St Chad's College and a member of Josephine Butler College Senior Common Room (SCR).

Miss Ventista received her Bachelor (first class) in Primary Education from the University of Thessaly. She researched on social representations of the effective primary school among Greek parents while the country was facing the social consequences of the economic crisis. The results of her research highlighted that parents did not restrict their expectations solely on cognitive gains of schooling. Then, she started developing her interest in teaching interventions which can potentially increase the critical thinking and creativity of the students. Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a typical example of interventions aiming to develop these thinking skills. For this reason, she implemented a short-term P4C project in Greece to investigate how students and teachers respond to this intervention.

Miss Ventista holds an MSc in Educational Assessment from Durham University. She implemented established assessments tools of critical thinking and creativity to investigate their convergent and discriminant validity. Her dissertation focused on criterion validation of motor development tools of the iPIPS project by Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University.

After the encouraging results of the P4C project at Durham University, she decided to explore further the P4C impact on attainment. Moreover, she is conducting an experimental research project aiming to investigate the P4C effect on creativity and critical thinking of students in primary schools in England. Influenced by her previous study on school effectiveness, she decided to additionally examine how P4C specifically affects the thinking skills and the attainment of the students who are eligible for Free School Meals. 

During her PhD studies, she offers assistance in different research projects. In 2016 she helped with the piloting of the BASE - Reception Baseline Assessment (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) in schools. She also assisted with the fieldwork for the Youth Social Action Trials and Children's University project.

Twitter: @OMVentista

Research Gate: Ourania Maria Ventista

Google Scholar: Ourania Maria Ventista

Research Interests

  • Philosophy for Children
  • Evidence-based Education
  • Experimental Research Design and Controlled Trials
  • Educational Assessment
  • Creativity and Critical Thinking Assessments
  • Criterion Validity
  • Assessment in Massive Open Online Courses
  • Non-cognitive skills
  • School effectiveness
  • Social Inequality
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Teacher Education
  • Teaching Ethics

Teaching Areas

  • Critical Perspectives in Education (Masters module)


Chapter in book

  • Ventista, O.M. (2018). A Literature Review of Empirical Evidence on the Effectiveness of Philosophy for Children. In Family Resemblances: Current Proposals in Philosophy for Children. Duthie, E., Moriyón, F. G. & Robles Loro, R. (ed.) Madrid: Anaya. 448-469.

Journal Article

  • Siddiqui, N. & Ventista, O.M. (2018). A review of school-based interventions for the improvement of social emotional skills and wider outcomes of education. International Journal of Educational Research 90: 117-132.
  • Ventista, O.M. (2018). Multi-Trait Multi-Method Matrices for the Validation of Creativity and Critical Thinking Assessments for Secondary School Students in England and Greece. International Journal of Assessment Tools in Education 5(1): 15-32.
  • Ventista, O.M. (2018). Self-assessment in Massive Open Online Courses. E-Learning and Digital Media 15(4): 165-175.
  • Filippatou,D. & Ventista, O.M. (2017). Perceptions of secondary education teachers concerning differentiation of instruction [In Greek]. Το Βήμα των Κοινωνικών Επιστημών 17(68): 147-183.
  • Ioannou, S., Georgiou, K. & Ventista, O.M. (2017). Teaching Philosophy through Paintings: A Museum Workshop. Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis 38(1): 62-83.
  • Ventista, O.M. & Paparoussi, M. (2016). Introducing a Philosophical Discussion in your Classroom: An Example of a Community of Enquiry in a Greek Primary School. Childhood & Philosophy 12(25): 611-629.

Book review

  • Ventista, O.M. (2017). Philosophy for children: theories and praxis in teacher education. Educational Research and Evaluation 23(1-2): 73-74.

Conference Paper

  • Ventista, O.M. & Loumakou, M. (2014), Social Representations of the effective school among Greek parents in a period of crisis, iceri 2014: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation. Seville, Spain, pp. 5698-5707.

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • Ventista, O.M. (2018). Can you become better than yourself? [Blog post].
  • Ventista, O.M. (2017). Let's learn how to fail! [Blog post].
  • Ventista, O.M. (2017). Time to increase the quality of the multiple-choice questions you use! [Blog post].


  • Ventista, O.M. (2018), Does Philosophy for Children improve the critical thinking of the primary school pupils?, BERA Annual Conference 2018. Newcastle, England.
  • Ioannou, S., Chatziefraimidou, A. & Ventista, O.M. (2018), Negotiating Ethics in Primary Schools: Theories, Resources and Teaching Approaches, The European Conference of Educational Research (ECER): Inclusion and Exclusion, Resources for Educational Research?. Bolzano, Italy.
  • Ventista, O.M. (2017), A rapid literature review of empirical research on Philosophy for Children, 18th ICPIC Conference: Philosophical Inquiry with Children Coming of Age: Family Resemblances. Madrid, Spain.
  • Ventista, O.M. (2017), Massive Open Online Courses: Is self-assessment the most appropriate type of formative assessment?, Day Workshop. Assessment and Feedback: Transforming Curricula and Assessment in HE. University of Bath, England.
  • Ventista, O.M. (2016), Self-assessment in Massive Open Online Courses, Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA): Innovation in Assessment and Feedback Practice. Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Ventista, O.M. & Siddiqui, N. (2016), Which school interventions are beneficial for the development of non-cognitive skills of primary school students? A review of existing evidence, The European Conference of Educational Research (ECER) 2016, Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers. Dublin, Ireland.
  • Ventista, O.M. & Coe, R. (2015), Can Creativity and Critical Thinking be assessed as general constructs or as subject-specific skills?, The European Conference of Educational Research (ECER): Education and Transition. Budapest, Hungary.
  • Ventista, O.M. & Paparoussi, M. (2015), Discussing the ‘missing piece’ and fulfilment: philosophical discussions in the primary school with literature as stimulus, The European Conference of Educational Research (ECER): Education and Transition. Budapest, Hungary.
  • Ventista, O.M. (2015), Social representations of the effective school among Greek parents in a period of crisis, College of St Hild and St Bede: Postgraduate Symposium. Durham, England.

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