Matthew Carroll

Matthew Carroll

Matthew Carroll

I joined Cambridge University Press and Assessment in 2017, and have since undertaken diverse research work, including developing automated plagiarism detection methods, quantifying uptake of different subjects at GCSE, and understanding demographic characteristics of students taking vocational qualifications.

My background is in analysis of large datasets and statistical modelling, having previously worked in the field of conservation ecology. I studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge, and then worked for a year in a science education centre. I then undertook an MRes in Ecology and Environmental Management at the University of York, where I stayed to carry out a PhD on ecological impacts of climate change. Following my studies, I worked as a scientist at the RSPB for over four years, focusing on analysis of large biological datasets.

My current work involves development of statistical methods to detect malpractice in examinations, and analysis of large administrative datasets, such as the National Pupil Database.

Outside of work, I enjoy running and walking to keep fit. I visit nature reserves for wildlife spotting, I’m an avid fan of music and food, and I volunteer with a charity that prevents social isolation in elderly people.

Publications

2021

Does removing tiering from high-stakes examinations reduce the size of attainment gaps?
Carroll, M. (2021, November 3-5). Does removing tiering from high-stakes examinations reduce the size of attainment gaps? Annual conference of the Association for Educational Assessment – Europe (AEA-Europe), Dublin, Republic of Ireland (online).
Learning during lockdown: How socially interactive were secondary school students in England?

Williamson, J., Suto, I., Little, J., Jellis, C., & Carroll, M. (2021) Learning during lockdown: How socially interactive were secondary school students in England? Research Matters: A Cambridge University Press & Assessment publication, 32, 22-44.

For countless students, national lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 caused serious upheaval in their education. Across England, decisions to close schools engendered much anxiety, as did Government expectations that most students continued their schooling from home. In addition to lost opportunities for learning and even loss of learning, students’ wellbeing was a significant concern for parents, teachers, and other stakeholders.

Students’ social interactions with their teachers, each other, family and friends are critical to both pedagogy and wellbeing. We report on a survey of over 600 secondary school students’ perceptions of the extent and nature of such interactions during England’s national lockdown in early 2021. We found that the activity types that occurred both within and outside of lockdown schooling changed markedly compared with during pre-pandemic schooling. Students reported spending less time interacting with their teachers and peers though whole class work, small group work, and pair work, and more time working independently. Over half of the students surveyed perceived working independently to be helpful or really helpful, apparently valuing the autonomy they had gained. Patterns of activity types for students who learned mostly or entirely at home were strikingly like those of students who continued to attend school during lockdown; the nature of face-to-face schooling appeared to have changed temporarily in the direction of remote schooling.

2019

The use of longitudinal survey data in education research
Carroll, M. (2019). The use of longitudinal data survey in education research. Presented at the annual conference of the British Educational Research Association, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK, 10-12 September 2019. The slides and commentary can be viewed here.

2018

Uptake of GCSE subjects 2017
Carroll, M. and Gill, T. (2018). Statistics Report Series No. 120
Uptake of GCSE subjects 2017
Carroll, M. and Gill, T. (2018). Statistics Report Series No. 120
The link between subject choices and achievement at GCSE and performance in PISA 2015: Executive summary
Carroll, M. and Benton, T. (2018). Cambridge Assessment Research Report. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Assessment.
The link between subject choices and achievement at GCSE and performance in PISA 2015
Carroll, M. and Benton, T. (2018). Cambridge Assessment Research Report. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Assessment.
Vocational, technical and applied qualifications within upper secondary education in England
Williamson, J. and Carroll, M. (2018). Vocational, technical and applied qualifications within upper secondary education in England: Who takes them, how do they fit within students' programmes of study, and where do students progress to next? Presented at the 19th annual AEA-Europe conference, Arnhem/Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 7-10 November 2018.
News articles as data: analysing the portrayal of exams in the UK print media
Carroll, M. (2018). News articles as data: analysing the portrayal of exams in the UK print media. Presented at the 44th conference of the International Association for Educational Assessment, Oxford, UK, 9-14 September 2018. The slides and commentary can be viewed here.
Changes in media coverage of GCSEs from 1988 to 2017
Carroll, M. (2018). Cambridge Assessment Research Report.  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Assessment.
Examining the use of technical qualifications within Key Stage 5 programmes of study

Williamson, J. and Carroll, M. (2018). Examining the use of technical qualifications within Key Stage 5 programmes of study. Presented at the 5th International Conference on Employer Engagement in Education and Training, London, UK, 5-6 July 2018.

The conference proceedings can be viewed here.

2017

Uptake of GCE A level subject 2016
Carroll, M. and Gill, T. (2017). Statistics Report Series No. 116
Uptake of GCE A level subject 2016 - Data
Carroll, M. and Gill, T. (2017). Statistics Report Series No. 116 - Data

Research Matters

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