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School of Education

Staff Profile

Prof Rob Coe

Professor in the School of Education
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 44184

Contact Prof Rob Coe


Robert Coe is Professor in the School of Education and Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM), Durham University. CEM is the largest educational research centre in a UK university and has provided assessment and monitoring systems to many thousands of schools since 1983. Well over a million children take our assessments every year in more than 40 countries; we are the largest provider of computer adaptive assessments outside the US.

Before embarking on an academic career, Rob Coe was a teacher of mathematics, with experience in a range of secondary schools and colleges. He left teaching in 1995 to study full-time for a PhD at Durham University, and then stayed on as a Research Associate and Lecturer.

His research interests are wide-ranging and include: evaluation methodology; Evidence-Based Education and the involvement of practitioners in research; school effectiveness and improvement, including the methodology of school effectiveness research; the use and effects of feedback, especially in performance monitoring information systems; and the statistical comparability of examinations in different subjects and over time.

His teaching is also varied, including research methods courses from undergraduate to Ed.D. level, and specialist Masters level courses in Experiments in Education and in Educational Assessment, as well as contributing to initial teacher training. His methodological expertise lies in areas such as general statistical analysis, experimental design, meta-analysis, multilevel modelling, construct measurement and item response models.

Information for prospective doctoral research student supervisions

Rob would welcome applications from good PhD students in any areas that overlap with his research interests and expertise

Completed Supervisions (since 2008)

Reflective Outcomes in Asynchronous Computer Mediated Communication: A Case Study Using a Comparative Method

The English Benchmark Policy for Graduation:
An Investigation of Perception, Motivation, and Approaches to Learning at a University of Technology in Central Taiwan.

Indicators of Esteem

  • ESRC: Reviewed proposal for ESRC
  • External examiner: Examined one external EdD thesis, University of Sheffield
  • Impact on Policy and Practice: Impact on policy and practice as Director of the CEM Centre's secondary monitoring projects, used by around 3000 schools and colleges, and through organising, jointly with Dr. Philip Davies at the Cabinet Office, the Fourth and Fifth international 'Evidence-Based Policies and Indictor Systems' conference, both held in London, July 2003 and July 2006, of which selected proceedings appeared in a special issue of Evaluation and Research in Education (18, 1 & 2), edited by me.
  • International Research collaborations: International research collaborations with Dr. Adrie Visscher, University of Twente, resulting in an edited book and ongoing further work, and with Dr. Cesar Merino Soto, Defensoria Municipal del Nino y del Adolescente, Peru, leading to a joint Spanish paper on effect size.


Research Interests

  • Evidence-based policy and practice
  • Statistical analysis and inference
  • Value added and school effectiveness

Research Groups

Research Projects

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Chapter in book

  • Coe, R. (2012). Conducting your research. In Research Methods and Methodologies in Education. Arthur, J., Waring, M., Coe, R. & Hedges, L.V. Sage. 41-52.
  • Coe, R. (2012). Effect size. In Research Methods and Methodologies in Education. Arthur, J., Waring, M., Coe, R. & Hedges, L.V. Sage. 368-377.
  • Coe, R. (2012). The nature of educational research - exploring the different understandings of educational research. In Research Methods and Methodologies in Education. Arthur, J., Waring, M., Coe, R & Hedges, L.V. Sage. 5-14.
  • Tymms, P. & Coe, R. (2009). Conclusions: Assessment in an Era of Globalization. In Multicultural Psychoeducational Assessment. Grigorenko, E. Madison, WI: Apex. 469-485.

Edited book

  • Coe, R., Arthur, J., Hedges, L. & Waring, M. (2012). Research Methodologies and Methods in Education. Londong: Sage.
  • Arthur, J., Waring, M., Coe, R. & Hedges, L.V. (2012). Research Methods and Methodologies in Education. Sage.

Other (Digital/Visual Media)


  • Cordingley, P., Higgins, S., Greany, T., Buckler, N., Coles-Jordan, D., Crisp, B., Saunders, L. & Coe, R. (2015). Developing Great Teaching: Lessons from the international reviews into effective professional development. London, Teacher Development Trust.
  • Coe, R., Aloisi, C., Higgins, S. & Major, L.E. (2014). What makes great teaching? Review of the underpinning research. London: Sutton Trust.
  • Coe, R., Kime, S., Nevill, C. & Coleman, R. (2013). The DIY Evaluation Guide. Education Endowment Foundation.
  • Higgins, S., Katsipataki, M., Kokotsaki, D., Coleman, R., Major, L.E. & Coe, R. (2013). The Sutton Trust - Education Endowment Foundation Teaching and Learning Toolkit. London, Education Endowment Foundation.
  • 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.
  • Merrell, C., Jones, P., Bolden, D., Jones, K., Defty, N. & Ndaji, F. (2010). Evaluation of procedures for calculating National Ratings: A report for the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
  • Coe, R. & Kokotsaki, D. (2010). How can Educational Accountability Systems help the Poorest Children? A Report for Save the Children. Durham.
  • 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).
  • Sykes, R. et al. (2010). The Sir Richard Sykes Review. London.
  • Wiggins, A., Coe, R., Jones, K. & Kan, M-Y. (2009). Evidence of educational support outside of school. London.
  • Coe, R., Jones, K., Searle, J., Kokotsaki, C., Mohd Kosnin, A. & Skinner, P. (2008). Evidence on the effects of selective educational systems. London.
  • Coe, R.J., Searle, J., Barmby, P., Jones, K. & Higgins, S. (2008). Relative difficulty of examinations in different subjects. CEM Centre, School of Education.
  • Coe, R.J. & Tymms, P.B. (2008). Summary of research on changes in educational standards in the UK. Institute of Directors. London.

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Education: Examination standards
  • Education: Assessment
  • General policy: Evaluation of policy impact