Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Christine Merrell, PhD, PhD, MEd, PGCE, BSc

Professor in the School of Education
Deputy Head of Faculty (Research) in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health

Contact Christine Merrell, PhD (email at christine.merrell@durham.ac.uk)

Affiliate of the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education

Biography

Position:
Professor, School of Education and Deputy Head of Faculty (Research) Social Sciences & Health

Expertise:
Assessment development, Management and running of large-scale monitoring systems in pre-schools and primary schools, Research methods and evaluation in education, Achievements of severely inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive young children.

Experience:

  • Developed assessments for children aged 3 - 14 years including assessments of reading, mathematics, English vocabulary, non-verbal ability and motor development. Including develpoment of a computer-delivered, adaptive diagnostic assessment of reading for children aged 5 - 11 years. 
  • Managed large-scale assessment systems which monitor children's progress in pre-school and primary school. This involves the development and delivery of assessments, marking, analysis and provision of pupil-level feedback.
  • Studied the achievements of severely inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive young children, including involvement in a large-scale RCT to evaluate the impact of interventions aimed at helping such children succeed in the classroom.
  • Evaluated a range of educational interventions.
  • Provided in-service training for teachers, education authority personnel and other professionals in relation to assessment, monitoring pupils' progress and evidence-based interventions to help children succeed at school.

Christine has extensive experience in the development of assessments (for example reading, mathematics, vocabulary) for children aged between 3 and 11 years. She has published research about the development of children in the early years and the prediction of their later attainment. Her other research interests include the academic attainment and progress of severely inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive young children and ways to help them succeed in the classroom.

Completed Supervisions (since 2008)

The development of an assessment to identify deficits in facial expression decoding in young children

Can Motor Skills Training Improve Academic Performance? A Structured Motor Skills Intervention for Young Children

Impact

Research into the attainment and progress of severely inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive children, and interventions to help them succeed in the classroom. Co-I on a large-scale intervention study involving 2040 schools in England, which evaluated different school-based interventions. One of the interventions, an advice booklet to teachers which contained research-based teaching and classroom-management strategies, was found to have a long-term positive impact (up to GCSE) on children's attainment. The results from this study significantly shaped the recommendations in National Clinical Practice Guideline Number 72 commissioned by the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) and published in 2008. For the first time ever, in any of their guidelines, NICE included advice for treatment in educational settings. The study was one of only six educational studies from around the world considered to be of sufficiently high quality to meet NICE's inclusion criteria for this guideline.

Information for prospective doctoral research student supervisions

Christine would welcome applications from prospective doctoral students on any of her research interests.

Research Groups

Research Projects

  • 5-14 Science and Maths Report
  • Cross Age Peer Tutoring
  • EasyPeasy Evaluation
  • Establishing a Baseline of Children Starting School and Monitoring Progress in the First Year in Primary Schools of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • Improving Basic Education in Grade 1 in Lesotho: Pilot
  • IPIPS Brazil
  • Prospective Report on the Future of Assessment in Primary and Secondary Education
  • Teach First Evaluation

Research Interests

  • Assessment and monitoring in primary schools
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Early Years Education

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Merrell, C. (2017). Understanding Monitoring in the United Kingdom Context. In Monitoring the Quality of Education in Schools: Examples of Feedback into Systems from Developed and Emerging Economies. Scherman, V., Bosker, R. & Howie, S. J. Rotterdam/Boston/Taipei: Sense Publishers. 93-106.
  • 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.
  • Merrell, C, Little, J & Coe, R (2014). Is the Attainment Gap among Primary Aged Children Decreasing? In In Harnessing what works in eliminating educational disadvantage: A tale of two classrooms. Wood, C & Scott, R Demos.
  • Merrell, C. (2012). Developments in Standardised Assessment: A perspective from the UK. In Contemporary Debates in Childhood Development and Education. Suggate, S. & Reese, E. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 293-304.
  • 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. & 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.

Conference Paper

  • 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.

Journal Article

Presentation

  • 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.

Report

Translated Book

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Education: Monitoring the attainment and progress of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These are severely inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive children. I have monitored their progress in primary school and evaluated strategies to help
  • Psychology: Monitoring the attainment and progress of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These are severely inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive children. I have monitored their progress in primary school and evaluated strategies to help
  • Education: Monitoring the development, attainment and progress of children from pre-school up to the end of the primary years

Selected Grants

  • 2019: Prospective Report on the Future of Assessment in Primary and Secondary Education (£3219.70 from Interreg (ERDF) Europe)
  • 2018: PACT Evaluation (£163889.00 from Education Endowment Foundation)
  • 2017: Improving Basic Education in Grade 1 in Lesotho: pilot (£40000.00 from David and Elaine Potter Foundation)
  • 2016: iPIPS Brazil (£42100.00 from Instituto Alpha E Beto)
  • 2015: Tottenham Schools Learning Community - Cross Age Peer Tutoring (£12250.00 from Haringey Council)
  • 2014: Embedding Research-Based Interventions for Improving Literacy into Teachers' Everyday Practice (£176986.00 from Education Endowment Foundation)
  • 2014: Establishing a Baseline of Children Starting School and Monitoring Progress in the First Year in Primary Schools of the Western Cape, South Africa (£81868.13 from The Nuffield Foundation)
  • 2014: Extraction & Analysis of PIPS Data, & Trial to Address the Use of Baseline Assessment for Accountability (£73667.16 from Department for Education)
  • 2014: Preparing two Reports for the ESP Project (£13228.00 from OECD)
  • 2014: Use of Animated Images in Rating Scales (£11920.00 from Department for Education)
  • 2013: An Analysis of PIPS Data for Scotland (£1838.66 from The Scottish Government)
  • 2013: Improving outcomes in reading and inclusion in schools using peer tutoring in North Tyneside (£6124.00 from Education Endowment Foundation)
  • 2013: International Comparison of Early Years Outcomes (£14978.00 from Department for Education)
  • 2013: Project Based Learning (£164580.00 from Education Endowment Foundation)
  • 2013: Review and Evaluation of Lions' Assessment (£68901.00 from Lions)
  • 2013: Scholastic Book Clubs 50th Anniversary Campaign (£14980.00 from Scholastic Limited)
  • 2012: Cross Age Peer Tutoring (£673020.64 from Education Endowment Foundation)
  • 2012: Evaluation of the Norfolk Council Rapid Phonics Project (£20250.00 from Education Endowment Foundation)
  • 2012: Evaluation of the Real Action Butterfly Project (£25224.00 from Education Endowment Foundation)
  • 2011: Private Tuition Pilot Evaluation (£10000.00 from )
  • 2011: Teach First Impact Assessment (£102258.35 from Teach First Ltd)
  • 2010: 5-14 Science and Maths Report (£4950.00 from The Royal Society)
  • 2010: INCAS Extension (£570145.00 from C2k)
  • 2009: XIV European Conference on Development Psychology (£300.00 from The British Academy)
  • 2006: EVALUATION OF THE PARTNERSHIP (£8381.00 from The Dyslexia Institute)
  • 2004: CADATS (£9000.00 from MISC Local Authority)
  • 2004: INCAS (£18000.00 from MISC Local Authority)

Supervises