It's no myth: superior O-level proves the system needs a rethink

20th November 2009 at 00:00

A sensible and vigorous debate about the fashionable notion of evidence-based practice is long overdue. For those wedded to the naive hope that it is possible for "objective" research evidence to feed into educational policy-making, free from politicised distortion, recent experience must give major pause for thought.

We have recently witnessed the extraordinary spectacle of Professor Robin Alexander's Cambridge Primary Review report being rejected out of hand by a government in chronic "evidence denial", before the ink was barely dry from the printing presses. We must also be very cautious about accepting at face value soundbite headline reports of allegedly scientific research, embracing instead a critical perspective on the taken-for-granted assumptions about reality that routinely underpin every research methodology.

  • Dr Richard House, Research Centre for Therapeutic Education, Roehampton University.

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