Schools urged to be 'critical consumers' of education research

Education research can be so complex and context-specific that schools and teachers must ensure they become “critical consumers”, one of the UK’s leading academics has said.

Dylan Wiliam, emeritus professor of educational assessment at University College London, told the Association of School and College Leaders’ annual conference in Birmingham that every school leader “needs to be a critical consumer of educational research”, because it can never definitively tell you what to do.

One issue highlighted by Prof Wiliam was “aptitude treatment interaction” – what he called a “posh psychological term for when (an intervention) works in some places, and it doesn't work in other places”.

He explained: “What you find is, you get huge effects in some studies and tiny effects in others, and therefore the average is irrelevant. It's the equivalent of claiming that a man with one foot in boiling water and one foot of freezing water is, on average, comfortable.”

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here