Ten out of 10 for research

23 September 2015

In celebration of the tenth anniversary edition of Research Matters, we run down the 'Top 10' articles, as voted by our Assessment Research and Development team. 

Aspects of writing
Our longitudinal study Aspects of Writing has been running since 1980, with the original report making front page headlines.
Read research from 1980-2004 in this Research Matters Special Issue.

What happens when four Financial Times' journalists go under the eye of the invigilator?
We sat four Financial Times' journalists down to take AS and A Levels in their specialist fields of politics, business, economics and media, with surprisingly varied results.
Read a report of the experiment and thoughts from the journalists themselves from p23 in Issue 02

21st Century skills: Ancient, ubiquitous & enigmatic?
What are 21st Century skills? How should we teach them, assess them, and how can we develop them in the workplace? In this paper Irenka Suto questions whether some skills deemed '21st Century' are deemed by some to be "as ancient as Socratic philosophy."
Read more on p2 of Issue 15 

A Level History: Which factors motivate teachers' unit and topic choices?
This research spawned a popular national news item detailing the 'Top 10' topics studied by A Level History students, revealing Russian Dictatorship and Civil Rights in the USA to be among the most popular. 
Read the accompanying research on p2 of Issue 19

'Happy birthday to you'; but not if it's summertime
This influential research review on the effect of birthdate on school performance, co-authored by Tim Oates CBE, continues to be referenced in the ongoing debate around at what age children should start school.
Read more on p43 of Issue 08 

Critical Thinking – a tangible construct?
Is critical thinking an explicitly teachable skill or a natural disposition? This research looks at both sides of the argument over the history of the construct of 'critical' thinking.
Read more on p2 of Issue 03

Education and Neuroscience
In the first edition of Research Matters to be printed in colour, one of our researchers, Vikas Dhawan, hooked himself up to an EEG machine (pictured) to investigate how neuroscience might affect the fields of education and test development in the future. 
Read more on p46 of Issue 17 

Cookery examined: 1937 - 2007
Here, the author dissects the history of social change and gender bias in the way cookery is taught and assessed in schools, from the late 1930s, to an all but disappearance from the curriculum in the 1980s and a revival in recent years off the back of campaigns around obesity, animal welfare and environmental concerns.   
Read more on p24 of Issue 06

The pitfalls and positives of pop-comparability
This study explores the 'August ritual' of media debate surrounding the standards of public examinations and questions whether experiments such as The Five Decade Challenge and television programmes like That'll Teach 'Em help or hinder with the perception of exams in popular culture.
Read more on p52 of this Research Matters Special Issue 

'3 Rs’ of assessment research: Respect, Relationships and Responsibility
This study reviews arguments that research has an important role in reinforcing the integrity of and respect for an organisation, that Awarding Bodies have a relationship to support between themselves and the communities they serve, and acknowledges that the activities of our own organisation directly influence the lives of others, bringing with it responsibilities.
Read more on p2 of Issue 06


Read the 10th anniversary edition of Research Matters

Research Matters Issue 20 Summer 2015