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Making a Difference in Education

What the evidence says

By Robert Cassen, Sandra McNally, Anna Vignoles

Routledge – 2015 – 224 pages

Purchasing Options:

  • Paperback: $48.95
    March 15th 2015
    Not yet available
  • Hardback: $170.00
    March 14th 2015
    Not yet available


What works in education - and what doesn't? This book offers a highly readable guide to what the latest research says about improving young people's outcomes in pre-school, primary and secondary education. Never has this issue been more topical as the UK attempts to compete in the global economy against countries with increasingly educated and skilled work forces. The book asks whether education policy in the UK has really been guided by the evidence. Why have the failings of Britain's educational system been so resistant to change? What have been the success stories? Can we do better?

The book looks at early years; at primary education, with a special focus on reading and numeracy; and at all aspects of secondary education up to age 16. It asks what makes an effective school? What makes a good teacher? What works best for disadvantaged pupils? How does the UK evidence compare with experience in the US, and in the countries with the best educational records - Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan, South Korea? This is essential reading for anyone who wants to know about the effectiveness of UK education policy and practice, and where they should be going. As a comprehensive research review, the book will also be a lasting work of reference, essential reading for faculty and students in education and social policy.

The authors have considerable experience in education evaluation methods, and have contributed significantly to the research the book covers. Prof Cassen was the lead author of the Rowntree Report, Tackling Low Educational Achievement. Besides her extensive other publications, Prof Vignoles has published research on a range of education policy issues and recently reviewed cost-benefit analysis in education for the Department of Education.



Part 1 Key Issues

  1. UK education: a brief history
  2. The importance of the early years
  3. Parents and parenting
  4. Schools: organisation, resources, school leadership, and school effectiveness
  5. What makes a good teacher?
  6. Part 2 Curriculum matters

  7. Reading and writing
  8. Numeracy and maths teaching
  9. Special Educational Needs
  10. IT and ‘digital natives’
  11. Practical education
  12. Lessons from elsewhere: Finland, France, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

Author Bio

Robert Cassen is Visiting Professor at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics. He held his first post at LSE in 1961, and subsequently was a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, and Director of Queen Elizabeth House and Professor of Development Economics at Oxford. He also served on the staff of DfID, the British High Commission in New Delhi, the World Bank, and the Brandt Commission. Among other publications, he is the author of , with Geeta Kingdon, Tackling Low Educational Achievement: a Report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. In 2008 Prof Cassen received an OBE for services to education.

Sandra McNally is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics. She is Director of the Education Programme at CEP. Current research interests include economic evaluation of government policies; the effect of careers-related information on educational decisions; returns to education; the effects of 'ability tracking' within school systems; special educational needs; education and mental health.

Anna Vignoles is Professor of the Economics of Education at the Institute of Education and a Deputy Director of the Centre for the Economics of Education. Her research interests include issues pertaining to equity in education, school choice, school efficiency and finance and the economic value of schooling. She has advised numerous government departments, the department of Business, Innovation and Skills, HM Treasury, and the Departments for Children, Schools and Families and Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Name: Making a Difference in Education: What the evidence says (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Robert Cassen, Sandra McNally, Anna Vignoles. What works in education - and what doesn't? This book offers a highly readable guide to what the latest research says about improving young people's outcomes in pre-school, primary and secondary education. Never has this issue been more...
Categories: Education Policy, Education Studies, Primary/Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Early Years