Improving Education: A triumph of hope over experience. Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring.

Author: Rob Coe

Year: 2013

Paper Description

This paper is based on a lecture given by the author under the premise that the quality of education in England had not improved in the thirty years prior. Despite many claims to the contrary. It draws on a range of sources (TIMS, PIRLS, PISA, independent studies and national examinations) to outline the mixed picture with regards to education standards and explores ways in which the author felt education could improve in the future.

Key Takeaway 1

Research evidence and the implementation of interventions based upon this evidence are complex, difficult and problematic in their own ways. At the time of writing, more needed to be done to consider how the implementation of interventions based on education research could be improved to create sustained and meaningful improvements on a systemic level.

Key Takeaway 2

Proper and effective evaluation of the interventions we choose to implement is essential if the education system is to avoid making the mistakes it has made in the past. An increasingly scientific approach is required to allow schools to ascertain the most effective and likely impactful interventions on which to focus their attention.

Standout Quote

“…I have come to believe that it may be common for teaching to be quite unrelated to learning; in many classrooms both things are happening, but each is more or less independent of the other.”


assessment, AfL, summative, formative, testing, feedback, learning, classroom practice, effective, responsive, education research, evidence-informed practice, teaching, learning