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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Christine Merrell

Tymms, P., Merrell, C. & Jones, P.I. (2004). Using baseline assessment data to make international comparisons. British Educational Research Journal 30(5): 673-689.

Author(s) from Durham


International studies have concentrated on the achievements of children during or at the end of their schooling. But such data are difficult to interpret without knowing the progress that they have made since they started school. This article argues that the time has come to study the starting points of children as they begin their education. Such a study is doubtless difficult to design and this study reports an analysis of data from a baseline assessment carried out with thousands of children starting school in very different circumstances, with different languages and cultures and in different countries. It is a pilot international study. Although difficulties are exposed the analyses indicate that such a study is now possible and, it is argued, should be carried out.


CEM Centre (2003)
PIRLS (2003)
PISA (2003)
TIMSS (2003)
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CEM Centre, Durham, British Educational Research Journal, 29(5), 639±653.
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Europe, Journal of Early Childhood Research 1(2), 155±180.