Leading international education academic to speak in Cambridge

28 August 2015

On Monday 21 September 2015 Cambridge Assessment will be providing a rare chance to hear a lecture by Dr E D Hirsch. Invited to speak in Cambridge by the Group's Director of Assessment Research and Development, Tim Oates CBE, Dr Hirsch will be sharing his views on equity, attainment and core curriculum in secondary education. 

During his long career, Dr Hirsch has made a number of discoveries that led him to formulate the concept of cultural literacy - the idea that reading comprehension requires not just formal decoding skills but also wide-ranging cultural background knowledge. He concluded that schools should not be neutral about what is taught but should teach a highly specific curriculum that would allow children to understand things writers tend to take for granted. These findings were considered at length during the UK's recent National Curriculum Review of 2012. His influential 1987 book and best-seller 'Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know', tapped a strong current of concern about US education. It was then extended to provide a 'Core Knowledge Sequence' of year-on-year prescriptions for each subject pre-school to Grade 8 (age 13-14). 

Dr Hirsch is the founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation and professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia. As the author of several acclaimed books on education issues Dr Hirsch solidified his reputation as one of the most influential education reformers of our time. A highly regarded English professor and literary critic earlier in his career, he was electrified by the insight gleaned from his research. Based on this reserach he developed his ground-breaking concept of cultural literacy - the idea that reading comprehension requires not just formal decoding skills but also wide-ranging background knowledge. For more than three decades, in books, articles and lectures, Dr Hirsch has passionately argued that schools should teach a highly specific curriculum that would allow children to understand things writers and speakers take for granted, and to fully participate in democratic life.

The lecture will be held in Cambridge and is free to attend, please register now to secure your place.

Register now