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Durham University

Research & business

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Prof Peter Tymms

Emeritus Professor in the School of Education
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 48413

Contact Prof Peter Tymms

Affiliate of the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education


After taking a degree from Cambridge University in Natural Sciences Peter Tymms taught in a wide variety of schools from Central Africa to the north-east of England before starting an academic career.

He was “Lecturer in Performance Indicators” at Moray House, Edinburgh before moving to Newcastle University and then to Durham University where he is presently Professor of Education.
He led the start of the UK Rasch User Group started the PIPS project

His main research interests include monitoring, assessment, performance indicators, ADHD, reading and research methodology. The PIPS project, which is designed to monitor the affective and cognitive progress of children through primary schools starting with a computer adaptive on-entry baseline assessment. Peter Tymms was Director of the CEM Centre until 2011 when he took over as Head of Department and Chair of the Board of Studies in the School of Education. At present he is devoting his time to setting up an international project designed to study children starting school around the world. The project is known as iPIPS .

Completed Supervisions

The Binormal Hypothesis of Specific Learning Disabilities

Factors Underlying Students' Conceptions of Deep Time: An Exploratory Study

An Item Response Theory Approach to the Maintenance of
Standards in Public Examinations in England

Building Schools of Character: The Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a School-Based Character Education Programme Designed to Promote Cooperative Learning and Reduce Anti-Social Behaviour

Classroom management approaches of primary teachers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Descriptions and the development of curriculum and instruction with a focus on Islamic education teachers.

An exploration of the effects of group summative assessment marking on higher education students’ overall marks.

Developing, Testing and Interpreting a Cross Age Peer Tutoring Intervention for Mathematics: Social Interdependence,Systematic Reviews and an Empirical Study.

The theoretical and practical value of the OECD policy advice for education.

Teachers’ perceptions on the effectiveness of the Oxford Online Placement Test at King Abdulaziz University

Information for prospective doctoral research student supervisions

Professor Tymms is semi-retired and is not taking on new students

Research Groups

School of Education

Research Projects

School of Education

Research Interests

  • Monitoring
  • Assessment & testing
  • Educational standards
  • Primary schools
  • ADHD

Indicators of Esteem

  • Academician: Academy of Social Sciences
  • Fellow: Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University
  • Inaugural Member: Sutton Trust's Education Advisory Group
  • Member: Education Advisory Group Education Endowment Foundation
  • Originator: Online Educational Research Journal
  • Winner: Excellence in Knowledge Transfer Award Durham University (joint: 2015)

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Tymms, P. (2018). Ensuring standards in English A levels. In How measures and meanings differ around the world. Baird, J., Isaacs, T., Opposs, D. & Gray, L. UCL IOE Press.
  • Tymms, P. (2017). Purposes for Educational Research. In The BERA/SAGE Handbook of Educational Research. Wyse, D., Selwyn, N., Smith, E. & Suter, L.E. London: Sage. 165-179.
  • 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.
  • Tymms, P. (2012). Interventions: experiments. In Research Methods and Methodologies in Education. Arthur, J., Waring, M., Coe, R. & Hedges, L.V. Sage. 137-140.
  • Tymms, P. (2012). Questionnaires. In Arthur, J., Waring, M., Coe, R. & Hedges, L.V. Sage. 231-240.
  • Elliott, J. & Tymms, P. (2012). What the evidence says and what we need to investigate. In Contemporary Debates in Childhood Education and Development. Suggate, S. & Reese, E. Routledge. 275-284.
  • Tymms, P. (2010). Ability Testing. In International Encyclopedia of Education. Peterson, P., Baker, E. & McGaw, B. Oxford: Elsevier. 4: 1-6.
  • 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. & Coe, R. (2009). Conclusions: Assessment in an Era of Globalization. In Multicultural Psychoeducational Assessment. Grigorenko, E. Madison, WI: Apex. 469-485.
  • 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.
  • Tymms, P. (2008). Commentary on Chapter 10. In Techniques for monitoring the comparability of examination standards. Newton, P., Baird, J-A., Goldstein, H., Patrick, H. & Tymms, P. (eds) London: QCA. 434-438.
  • Coe, R., Tymms, P. & Fitz-Gibbon, C. (2008). Commentary on Chapter 8. In Techniques for monitoring the comparability of examination standards. Newton, P., Baird, J-A., Goldstein, H., Patrick, H. & Tymms, P. (eds) London: QCA. 324-329.
  • Tymms, P. (2004). Effect sizes in multilevel models. In But what does it mean? The use of effect sizes in educational research. Schagen, Ian & Elliot, Karen Slough: National Foundation for Educational Research. 55-66.

Conference Paper

  • Almutairi, Talal, Tymms, P. & Kind, P. (2015), The Tools of Teacher Evaluation: What Should Be Used in Teacher Evaluation from the Teachers’ Perspective, 2015 International Business & Education Conference. London, The Clute Institute, 326.
  • 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.

Edited book

  • Newton, P., Baird, J-A., Goldstein, H, Patrick, H. & Tymms, P. (2008). Techniques for monitoring the comparability of examination standards. London: Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

Other (Print)


  • 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.


Translated Book

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • General policy: standards in education
  • General policy: monitoring, tracking and league tables
  • General policy: assessments
  • General policy: schools


Selected Grants

  • 2017: Improving Basic Education in Grade 1 in Lesotho: pilot (£40000.00 from David and Elaine Potter Foundation)
  • 2016: Improving the educational outcomes of children in Russia and South Africa (£15121.00 from ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics (INNOGEN))
  • 2016: Standard Deviation as an Outcome of Interventions: A Methodological Intervention (£3602.00 from Education Endowment Foundation)
  • 2016: iPIPS Brazil (£42100.00 from Instituto Alpha E Beto)
  • 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: Preparing two Reports for the ESP Project (£13228.00 from OECD)
  • 2013: An Analysis of PIPS Data for Scotland (£1838.66 from The Scottish Government)
  • 2013: International Comparison of Early Years Outcomes (£14978.00 from Department for Education)
  • 2012: Physical Activity and Wellbeing in Schools (£394897.52 from ESRC)
  • 2011: Impact study of school inspections on teaching and learning (£150012.53 from European Commission)
  • 2008: AN EVALUATION OF THE TARGETED MENTAL HEALTH (£302750.00 from Department for Children, Schools and Families)
  • 2008: SCIENCE IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS (£12250.00 from The Wellcome Trust)
  • 2007: C2k (£580661.00 from Western Education & Library Board)
  • 2007: ENTRANCE TESTS (£35500.00 from MISC Local Authority)
  • 2006: KTP - FIFE COUNCIL (£359100.00 from Fife Council)
  • 2005: STUDENTS ACADEMIC ABILITY EVALUATION SYSTEM (£459126.00 from National Centre for School Curriculum & Textbook Development)
  • 2004: WHOLE SCHOOLS APPROACH EVALUATION (£76000.00 from )