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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Evaluation of Writing about Values

A research project of the School of Education.


There is already considerable policy and practice activity being undertaken on the assumption that an individual’s aspirations, attitudes and behaviour (motivation, self-concept, self-belief and locus of control) can be influenced to improve educational outcomes. Most of the research conducted in this area is based on correlational studies using path analysis as a pseudo-measure of causality (e.g. Marsh and Martin 2011). The evidence of a causal effect remains unclear.

The question is whether pupils with high motivation or aspiration perform well, whether high performance led to higher motivation, aspiration and self-belief, or whether both are a consequence of something else. The ongoing debate about the sequence of events cannot be resolved without some more closely controlled and independent trials. So instead of more longitudinal work with path analysis or similar, the time is now ready for such trials.

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The project is funded by the following grant.

  • Evaluation Self-affirmation (£76485.11 from Education Endowment Foundation)


From the School of Education