Research on Ability Grouping and Setting in Maths Classes

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I’ve been trying to tie together some of the various bits of research I’ve come across for and against ability grouping in maths. Below is what I’ve got so far, but would love any other pointers, for or against. The last 30 years’ research suggests setting marginally improves high-achievers, but to the detriment of everyone else. Sources are: DfES (2004) … Read More

The Effects of School Are Overplayed

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John Hattie’s book Visible Learning is a (dense) treasure trove of statistically backed educational research. He looks at 800 meta-analyses of school research and then analyses them for effect. The idea is essentially to try to come up with a way of measuring how much good various initiatives as compared to, say, a child’s natural development. This snippet, with my … Read More

To teach by theme or by subject

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There’s a report here from Pearson about whether to teach by theme or by subject. It goes over the Rose Review, the Cambridge Primary Review, current research and some case studies of successful schools in the UK. Then it looks at successful models in Singapore, Finland, Canada, Korea and Australia. The conclusions are A holistic approach: The best results are … Read More

The importance of estimation

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Teaching children how to estimate properly is something I need to improve on. As Jo Boaler points out in The Elephant in the Classroom: “When an official report in the UK was commissioned to examine the mathematics needed in the workplace the reviewers found that estimation was the most useful activity. Yet when children who have experienced traditional maths classes … Read More

Bad fonts = Good learning

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While certain fonts may be harder to read, researchers at Princeton and Indiana University have found that they may, in fact, improve your ability to remember facts. In a study of 200 students, they discovered that making things harder to read—whether that meant using fonts like Comic Sans and Bodoni MT or using bad photocopies—actually increased test scores, without any … Read More

Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook

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Based on a year long ethnographic study in Toronto, Canada, this paper looks at how – contrary to many mainstream accounts – younger users do indeed care about protecting and controlling their personal information. However, their concerns revolve around what I call social privacy, rather than the more conventional institutional privacy. This paper also examines the somewhat subversive practices which … Read More