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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Assessment, Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness

A research group of the School of Education.

The assessment of students’ learning, behaviour, feelings and interactions happens all the time, every day, within education settings. This can range from an informal observation right through to a high-stakes, formal assessment. From assessment follows actions and interventions along with the monitoring of change and progress towards desired goals.

Within this thematic cluster, we conduct research across the stages of assessment, monitoring and educational effectiveness. This research has led to providing assessment and monitoring systems for many thousands of schools to use with several million students. The impact of a range of educational interventions have been evaluated, through qualitative and quantitative methods. The information generated from this range of research activity has informed educational practice and policies in the UK and internationally:

  • Assessment development; our research covers the development of assessments across many areas that are connected with learning and development which have been used with extensively around the world. These include (but are not limited to) reading, vocabulary acquisition, mathematics, personal and social development, behaviour, motor skills. We have research interests in many aspects of assessment development, including understanding constructs and innovative approaches towards collecting reliable and valid measurements. This expertise feeds through into the School’s MSc in Educational Assessment. Prof Tymms established the UK’s Rasch User Group over ten years ago and it continues to be active ( ) (Christine Merrell, Peter Tymms, Nadin Beckmann, Jens Beckmann, Julie Rattray)
  • Monitoring students’ development, learning and attitudes; we have developed large-scale monitoring systems, which involves research into varied approaches to assessment and methods of feeding back meaningful information to educators about each of their students. (Christine Merrell, Peter Tymms, Nadin Beckmann, Jens Beckmann)
  • Research into educational effectiveness; we make use of longitudinal data to study the long-term educational trajectories of students. We have used cross-sectional data to study trends over time, including the effectiveness of local interventions through to national policies. We have also conducted trials to evaluate the effectiveness of a range of interventions and have expertise in experimental design with a particular focus on trial methodology. (Christine Merrell, Peter Tymms, Rob Coe, Helen Cramman, Stephen Gorard, Nadia Siddiqui, Beng Huat See, Steve Higgins, Carole Torgerson, Adetayo Kasim)

For further information contact the cluster lead Professor Peter Tymms.

External Members


Academic Staff

Administrative and Technical Staff

Emeritus and Honorary Staff

Research Students

From other departments

  • Professor Adetayo Kasim (in the Department of Anthropology)
  • Dr Ourania Maria Ventista

Publications by staff in this group

Journal Article