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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Prof Peter Tymms

Professor in the School of Education
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 48413
Room number: ED303A

Contact Prof Peter Tymms

Affiliate of the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education


After taking a degree from Cambridge University in Natural Sciences Peter Tymms taught in a wide variety of schools from Central Africa to the north-east of England before starting an academic career.

He was “Lecturer in Performance Indicators” at Moray House, Edinburgh before moving to Newcastle University and then to Durham University where he is presently Professor of Education.
He led the start of the UK Rasch User Group started the PIPS project

His main research interests include monitoring, assessment, performance indicators, ADHD, reading and research methodology. The PIPS project, which is designed to monitor the affective and cognitive progress of children through primary schools starting with a computer adaptive on-entry baseline assessment. Peter Tymms was Director of the CEM Centre until 2011 when he took over as Head of Department and Chair of the Board of Studies in the School of Education. At present he is devoting his time to setting up an international project designed to study children starting school around the world. The project is known as iPIPS .

Completed Supervisions

The Binormal Hypothesis of Specific Learning Disabilities

Factors Underlying Students' Conceptions of Deep Time: An Exploratory Study

An Item Response Theory Approach to the Maintenance of
Standards in Public Examinations in England

Building Schools of Character: The Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a School-Based Character Education Programme Designed to Promote Cooperative Learning and Reduce Anti-Social Behaviour

Classroom management approaches of primary teachers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Descriptions and the development of curriculum and instruction with a focus on Islamic education teachers.

An exploration of the effects of group summative assessment marking on higher education students’ overall marks.

Developing, Testing and Interpreting a Cross Age Peer Tutoring Intervention for Mathematics: Social Interdependence,Systematic Reviews and an Empirical Study.

The theoretical and practical value of the OECD policy advice for education.

Teachers’ perceptions on the effectiveness of the Oxford Online Placement Test at King Abdulaziz University

Information for prospective doctoral research student supervisions

Professor Tymms is semi-retired and is not taking on new students

Research Groups

School of Education

Research Projects

School of Education

Research Interests

  • Monitoring
  • Assessment & testing
  • Educational standards
  • Primary schools
  • ADHD

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Ndaji, F. & Tymms, P. (2009). The P Scales: Assessing the Progress of Children with Special Educational Needs. Wiley-Blackwell.

Edited book

  • Newton, P., Baird, J-A., Goldstein, H, Patrick, H. & Tymms, P. (2008). Techniques for monitoring the comparability of examination standards. London: Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

Chapter in book

  • Tymms, P. (2018). Ensuring standards in English A levels. In How measures and meanings differ around the world. Baird, J., Isaacs, T., Opposs, D. & Gray, L. UCL IOE Press.
  • Tymms, P. (2017). Purposes for Educational Research. In The BERA/SAGE Handbook of Educational Research. Wyse, D., Selwyn, N., Smith, E. & Suter, L.E. London: Sage. 165-179.
  • Merrell, C. & Tymms, P. (2016). Assessing Young Children: Problems and Solutions. In Understanding What Works in Oral Reading Assessments: Recommendations from Donors, Implementers and Practitioners. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). 126-133.
  • Thurston, A., Tymms, P.B., Merrell, C. & Conlin, N. (2014). Improving Reading and Math Achievement across a Whole District. In Classroom Management and Assessment. Slavin, R. California: Corwin.
  • Tymms, P. (2012). Interventions: experiments. In Research Methods and Methodologies in Education. Arthur, J., Waring, M., Coe, R. & Hedges, L.V. Sage. 137-140.
  • Tymms, P. (2012). Questionnaires. In Arthur, J., Waring, M., Coe, R. & Hedges, L.V. Sage. 231-240.
  • Elliott, J. & Tymms, P. (2012). What the evidence says and what we need to investigate. In Contemporary Debates in Childhood Education and Development. Suggate, S. & Reese, E. Routledge. 275-284.
  • Tymms, P. (2010). Ability Testing. In International Encyclopedia of Education. Peterson, P., Baker, E. & McGaw, B. Oxford: Elsevier. 4: 1-6.
  • Tymms, P. & Merrell, C. (2009). Attainment, Standards and Quality. In Children, their World, their Education: Final report and recommendations of the Cambridge Primary Review. Alexander, R. London: Routledge.
  • Tymms, P. & Coe, R. (2009). Conclusions: Assessment in an Era of Globalization. In Multicultural Psychoeducational Assessment. Grigorenko, E. Madison, WI: Apex. 469-485.
  • Tymms, P. & Merrell, C. (2009). On-entry Baseline Assessment across Cultures. In Early Childhood Education: Society and Culture. Anning, A., Cullen, J. & Fleers, M. London: Sage Publications. 117.128.
  • Tymms, P. (2008). Commentary on Chapter 10. In Techniques for monitoring the comparability of examination standards. Newton, P., Baird, J-A., Goldstein, H., Patrick, H. & Tymms, P. (eds) London: QCA. 434-438.
  • Coe, R., Tymms, P. & Fitz-Gibbon, C. (2008). Commentary on Chapter 8. In Techniques for monitoring the comparability of examination standards. Newton, P., Baird, J-A., Goldstein, H., Patrick, H. & Tymms, P. (eds) London: QCA. 324-329.
  • Tymms, P. (2004). Effect sizes in multilevel models. In But what does it mean? The use of effect sizes in educational research. Schagen, Ian & Elliot, Karen Slough: National Foundation for Educational Research. 55-66.

Journal Article

  • Sayal, K., Merrell, C., Tymms, P. & Kasim, A. (2020). Academic Outcomes following a school-based RCT for ADHD: 6 year follow-up. Journal of Attention Disorders 24(1): 66-72.
  • Cramman, H., Gott, S., Little, J., Merrell, C., Tymms, P. & Copping, L.T. (2020). Number Identification: A Unique Developmental Pathway in Mathematics? Research Papers in Education 35(2): 117-143.
  • Bartholo, T.L., Campelo Koslinski, M., da Costa, M., Tymms, P., , Merrell, C. & Mendonça Barcellos, T (2020). The Use of Cognitive Instruments for Research in Early Childhood Education: Constraints and Possibilities in The Brazilian Context. Pro-Posições 31: e20180036.
  • Gray, H., Lyth, A., McKenna, C., Stothard, S., Tymms, P. & Copping, L.T. (2019). Sex differences in variability across nations in Reading, Mathematics and Science: A Meta-Analytic extension of Baye and Monseur (2016). Large-scale Assessments in Education 7(1): 2.
  • Ivanova, A., Kardanova, E., Merrell, C., Tymms, P. & Hawker, D. (2018). Checking the possibility of equating a mathematics assessment between Russia, Scotland and England for children starting school. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice 25(2): 141-159.
  • Zeneli, Mirjan, Tymms, Peter & Bolden, David (2018). Interdependent Cross-Age Peer Tutoring in Mathematics. International Journal of Psychology and Educational Studies 5(3): 33-50.
  • Boereboom, J. & Tymms, P. (2018). Is there an optimum age for starting school in New Zealand? NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education 21(2): 32-44.
  • Tymms, P. & Higgins, S. (2018). Judging Research Papers for Research Excellence. Studies in Higher Education 43(9): 1548-1560.
  • Tymms, P., Merrell, C. & Bailey, K. (2018). The long-term impact of effective teaching. School Effectiveness and School Improvement 29(2): 242-261.
  • Merrell, C., Sayal, K., Tymms, P. & Kasim, A. (2017). A longitudinal study of the association between inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity and children's academic attainment at age 11. Learning and Individual Differences 53: 156-161.
  • Demetriou, A., Merrell, C. & Tymms, P. (2017). Mapping and Predicting Literacy and Reasoning Skills from Early to Later Primary School. Learning and Individual Differences 54: 217-225.
  • Aloisi, C. & Tymms, P. (2017). PISA trends, social changes, and education reforms. Educational Research and Evaluation 23(5-6): 180-220.
  • Luyten, H., Merrell, C. & Tymms, P. (2017). The contribution of schooling to learning gains of pupils in Years 1 to 6. School Effectiveness and School Improvement 28(3): 374-405
  • Tymms, Peter, Curtis, Sarah E., Routen, Ash C., Thomson, Katie H., Bolden, David S., Bock, Susan, Dunn, Christine E., Cooper, Ashley R., Elliott, Julian G., Moore, Helen J., Summerbell, Carolyn D., Tiffin, Paul A. & Kasim Adetayo S. (2016). Clustered randomised controlled trial of two education interventions designed to increase physical activity and well-being of secondary school students: The MOVE Project. BMJ Open 6(1): e009318.
  • Zeneli, M., Tymms, P. & Bolden, D. (2016). The impact of interdependent cross-age peer tutoring on social and mathematics self- concepts. International Journal of Psychology and Educational Studies 3(2): 1-13.
  • Zeneli, M. & Tymms, P. (2015). A Review of Peer Tutoring Interventions and Social Interdependence Characteristics. International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education Special Issue Volume 5(2): 2504-2510.
  • Tymms, P. B. & Merrell, C. (2015). Cross-age Peer Learning. Better Evidence-based Education 7(1): 18-19.
  • Sayal, K., Mills, J., White, K., Merrell, C. & Tymms, P. (2015). Predictors of and Barriers to service use for children at risk of ADHD: Longitudinal study. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 24(5): 545-552.
  • Payanides, P., Robinson, C. & Tymms, P.B. (2015). Rasch measurement: a response to Goldstein. British Educational Research Journal 41(1): 180-182.
  • Tymms, P., Merrell, C. & Wildy, H. (2015). The progress of pupils in their first school year across classes and educational systems. British educational research journal 41(3): 365-380.
  • Jones, K.L. & Tymms, P.B. (2014). Ofsted's role in promoting school improvement: The mechanisms of the school inspection system in England. Oxford Review of Education 40(3): 315-330.
  • He, Q. & Tymms, P. (2014). The principal axis approach to value-added calculation. Educational Research and Evaluation 20(1): 25-43.
  • Merrell, C., Styles, I., Jones, P., Tymms, P. & Wildy, H. (2013). Cross-country Comparisons of Inattentive, Hyperactive and Impulsive Behaviour in School-Based Samples of Young Children. International Research in Early Childhood Education 4(1): 1-17.
  • Panayides, P. & Tymms, P. (2013). Investigating whether aberrant response behaviour in classroom maths tests is a stable characteristic of students. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice 20(3): 349-368.
  • Thomas, G. & Tymms, P. (2013). Open Access: The Future of Academic Publishing? Academic spring. Research Intelligence 2013(120): 26.
  • Tymms, P.B. (2013). Reviewing Rasch decisions. Perspectives: Centre for Education Research and Practice (February).
  • Deighton, J., Tymms, P., Vostanis, P., Belsky, J., Fonagy, P., Brown, A., Martin, A., Patalay, P. & Wolpert,M. (2013). The Development of a School-Based Measure of Child Mental Health. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 31(3): 247-257.
  • Tymms, P.B. & Panayides, P. (2012). Early History of Rasch Measurement in England. Rasch measurement transactions 26(2): 1365.
  • Thurston, A., Tymms, P., Merrell, C. & Conlin, N. (2012). Improving attainment across an education authority. Better: Evidence-based Education 4(2): 8-9.
  • Tymms, P., Merrell, C., Henderson, B., Albone, S. & Jones, P. (2012). Learning Difficulties in the Primary School Years: Predictability from On-Entry Baseline Assessment. Online Educational Research Journal June 2012.
  • Barmby, Patrick, Bolden, David, Higgins, Steve & Tymms, Peter (2012). Predicting success on a Bachelor of Arts Primary Education degree course. Educational Research 54(3): 323-330.
  • Tymms, P. & Merrell, C. (2011). ADHD and academic attainment: is there an advantage in impulsivity? Learning and Individual Differences 21(6): 753-758.
  • Merrell, C. & Tymms, P. (2011). Changes in Children’s Cognitive Development at the Start of School in England 2001 – 2008. Oxford Review of Education 37(3): 333-345.
  • Tymms, P. (2011). Evidence? The impact of large-scale reform in England. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft 13(S1): 105-115.
  • Tymms, P., Merrell, C., Thurston, A., Andor, J., Topping, K. & Miller, D. (2011). Improving attainment across a whole district: school reform through peer tutoring in a randomized controlled trial. School Effectiveness and School Improvement 22(3): 265-289.
  • Johnson, P. & Tymms, P. (2011). The Emergence of a Learning Progression in Middle School Chemistry. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 48(8): 849-877.
  • Tymms, P., McCusker, S., Remedios, R. & Anderson, C. (2010). Breaking the Mould and the Birth of a New Journal: Online Educational Research Journal. Online Educational Research Journal 1(2): 7.
  • Sayal, K.,, Owen, V.,, White, K.,, Merrell, C., & Tymms, P. (2010). Can early school-based screening and intervention programs for ADHD improve children's outcomes and access to services? Age 10 follow-up of a school-based trial. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
  • Sayal, K., Owen, V., White, K., Merrell, C., Tymms, P. & Taylor, E. (2010). Impact of Early School-Based Screening and Intervention Programs for ADHD on Children's Outcomes and Access to Services. Follow-up of a School-Based Trial at Age 10 Years. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 164(5): 462-469.
  • Ndaji, F. & Tymms, P. (2010). P scales: the state of SEN assessment. SEN Special Educational Needs (45): 72-74.
  • Ndaji, F. & Tymms, P. (2010). The P scales - how well are they working? British Journal of Special Education 37(4): 198-208.
  • Luyten, H., Tymms, P. & Jones, P. (2009). Assessing school effects without controlling for prior achievement? School Effectiveness and School Improvement 20(2): 145-165.
  • Bolden, D., Tymms, P. & Merrell, C. (2009). Can the past inform the future of science in primary schools? Education in Science 232: 10-11.
  • Tymms, P.B., Jones, P., Albone, S. & Henderson, B. (2009). The first seven years at school. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability 21(1): 67-80.
  • Hassan, A., Tymms, P. & Ismail, H. (2008). Academic productivity as perceived by Malaysian academics. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 30(3): 283-296.
  • Tymms, P. (2008). Diagnostic assessment makes its mark. Make the Grade: Journal of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors Autumn 2008.
  • Tymms, P.B., Merrell, C. & Coe, R.J. (2008). Educational Policies and randomized Controlled Trials. The Psychology of Education Review 32(2): 3-7 & 26-29.
  • Bolden, D., Tymms, P. & Merrell, C. (2008). New Approaches are needed for Science in Primary Schools. Primary Leadership Today (14): 17-19.
  • Carrington, B., Tymms, P. & Merrell, C. (2008). Role models, school improvement and the 'gender gap' - do men bring out the best in boys and women bring out the best in girls? British Educational Research Journal 34(3): 315-327.
  • Tymms, P., Bolden, D.S. & Merrell, C. (2008). Science in English Primary Schools: Trends in Attainment, Attitudes and Approaches. Perspectives on Education: Primary Science (1): 19-42.
  • Tymms, P., Merrell, C., Heron, T., Jones, P., Albone, S. & Henderson, B. (2008). The Importance of Districts. School Effectiveness and School Improvement: An International Journal of Research, Policy and Practice 19(3): 261-274.
  • Tymms, P., Merrell, C. & Henderson, B. (1997). The First Year at School: A Quantitative Investigation of the Attainment and Progress of Pupils. Educational Research and Evaluation 3(2): 101-118.

Conference Paper

  • Almutairi, Talal, Tymms, P. & Kind, P. (2015), The Tools of Teacher Evaluation: What Should Be Used in Teacher Evaluation from the Teachers’ Perspective, 2015 International Business & Education Conference. London, The Clute Institute, 326.
  • Tymms, P., Merrell, C., Henderson, B., Albone, S. & Jones, P. (2009), Learning Difficulties in the Primary School Years: Predictability from On-entry Baseline Assessment, XIV European Conference on Developmental Psychology. Vilnius, Vilnius.
  • Tymms, P., Merrell, C. & Jenkins, H. (2008), The advantage of impulsivity: An analysis of the components of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and their impact on attainment, AERA Annual Conference. New York, New York.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Tymms, P.B. (2015). Teachers show bias to pupils who share their personality. The Conversation 25 February 2015.

Other (Print)

  • Kardanova, E., Ivanova, A., Merrell, C., Hawker, D. & Tymms, P. (2014). The role of iPIPS assessment in providing high quality value added information on school and system effectiveness within and between countries. Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 20/EDU/2014.
  • Ndaji, F. & Tymms, P.B. (2009). Categorising Special Needs. SEN Magazine 40: 24-25.


  • Tymms, P. & Merrell, C. (2016), What impact does the first year of school have on later success?, International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement. Glasgow.


  • Tymms,P. & Kasim, A. (2018). Standard Deviation as an outcome on interventions: a methodological investigation. Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).
  • Tymms, P., Merrell, C. & Buckley, H. (2015). Children's development at the start of school in Scotland and the progress made during their first school year: An analysis of PIPS baseline and follow-up assessment data. School of Education, Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring. Edinburgh, UK, The Scottish Government.
  • Tymms, P., Merrell, C., Hawker, D. & Nicholson, F. (2014). Performance Indicators in Primary Schools: A comparison of performance on entry to school and the progress made in the first year in England and four other jurisdictions: Research report. London, Department for Education.
  • Taylor, E., Asherson, P., Bretherton, K., Bretherton, V., Hollis, C., Keen, D., Ryan, N., Salt, N., Sayal, K., Tymms, P. & Young, S. (2013). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Evidence update 45. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Manchester.
  • Torgerson, C.J., Wiggins, A., Torgerson, D.J., Ainsworth, H., Barmby, P., Hewitt, C., Jones, K., Hendry, V., Askew, M., Bland, M., Coe, R., Higgins, S., Hodgen, J., Hulme, C. & Tymms, P. (2011). Every Child Counts: The Independent evaluation Executive Summary. Department for Education (DfE).
  • Torgerson, C.J., Wiggins, A., Torgerson, D.J., Ainsworth, H., Barmby, P., Hewitt, C., Jones, K., Hendry, V., Askew, M., Bland, M., Coe, R., Higgins, S., Hodgen, J., Hulme, C. & Tymms, P. (2011). The Every Child Counts Independent Evaluation Report to DfE.
  • Deighton, J., Barmby, P., Tymms, P., Croudace, T. & Wolpert, M. (2010). A review of impact and implementation issues in relation to Kidscreen and relevant other measures. University College London.
  • Tymms, P. & Coe, R. (2010). Me and My School: Preliminary Findings from the first year of the National Evaluation of Targeted Mental Health in Schools (2008-09).
  • Tymms, P. (2010). Scottish Government's class size policy. The Scottish Parliament.
  • Taylor, E., Kendall, T., Asherson, P., Bailey, S., Bretherton, K., Brown, A., Costigan, L., Duncan, A., Harpin, V., Hollis, C., Keen, D., Lewis, A., Mavranezouli, I., Merrell, C., Mulligan, D., Perez, A., Pettinari, C., Ryan, N., Salt, N., Sayal, K., Sheppard, L., Stockton, S., Taylor, C., Thorley, G, Turner, J., Tymms, P., Wolpert, M., Wong, I. & Young, S. (2009). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: The NICE Guideline on Diagnosis and Management of ADHD in Children, Young People and Adults. Practice Guideline No. 72. London, The British Psychological Society and The Royal College of Psychiatrists.
  • Vidmar, M. & Tymms, P.B. (2009). Performance Indicators in Primary Schools: On-entry Baseline Assessment and follow-up Material (PIPS-BA). Ljubljana, Pedagoski institut.
  • Research Group:, Wolpert, M., Fonagy, P., Frederickson, N., Day, C., Rutter, M., Humphrey, N, Vostanis, P., Meadows, P., Croudace, T., Tymms, P. & Brown, J. (2008). Review and recommendations for national policy for England for the use of mental health outcome measures with children and young people. Evidence Based Practice Unit.
  • Coe, R.J. & Tymms, P.B. (2008). Summary of research on changes in educational standards in the UK. Institute of Directors. London.
  • Tymms, P.B. (2008). Testing and Assessment. House of Commons Select Committee. London, The Stationery Office Limited.

Translated Book

  • Konkawa, A., Ebine, H. & Sugita, K. (trans.) (2017). Christine Merrell and Peter Tymms, 小学校における困難児への対応 教師への指導指針第2版 (Working with Difficult Children in Primary Schools. A Guide for Teachers - 2nd Edition). Durham: Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM)
  • Rocha Mazzuchelli, D. S., Batista Araujo e Oliveira, J. & Costa, M. (trans.) (2015). Christine Merrell and Peter Tymms, Trabalhando com crianças pequenas desatentas, hiperativas e impulsivas em sala. Um guia para educadores (Working with Difficult Children in Primary Schools. A Guide for Teachers - 2nd Edition). Durham: Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM)
  • Gawrilow, C. & Zürcher, A. (trans.) (2014). Christine Merrell and Peter Tymms, Maßnahmen und Strategien zur Unterrichtsgestaltung – nicht nur für Kinder mit ADHS. Übersetzt, angepasst und ergänzt von Bettine Reich, Caterina Gawrilow und Anke Zürcher (Working with Difficult Children in Primary Schools. A Guide for Teachers - 2nd Edition). Tübingen: Universität Tübingen

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Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • General policy: standards in education
  • General policy: monitoring, tracking and league tables
  • General policy: assessments
  • General policy: schools