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      B4P seminar #4: "Understanding and tackling gaps in education" in City of London

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      March 25, 2019

      Monday   5:45 PM

      Bedford Way
      City of London, Westminster WC1H 9EU

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      B4P seminar #4: "Understanding and tackling gaps in education"

      Behavioural science encompasses disciplines such as psychology, economics and social science and has direct relevance to many areas of policy. The B4P pan-London seminar series is designed to encourage dialogue between those working in policy and early- to mid-career researchers working on issues related to behavioural science and public policy.  Our fourth event is taking place in collaboration with the Centre for Education Improvement Science at UCL Institute of Education. It will focus on how behavioural science can help us understand and tackle 'gaps' in education. We have three brilliant speakers confirmed: -  Dr Catherine Dilnot  (Oxford Brookes University) will discuss her work on  understanding gaps in  subject choice at A-level. -  Dr Laura Outhwaite (UCL) will explore whether technology based interventions can help to ensure all children develop a strong foundation in basic mathematical skills. - Susannah Hume  (King's College London What Works Department) will talk about how the KCL What Works Department ensures that KCL widening participation and student success initiatives are evidence-based, informed by cutting edge behavioural insights and data analytics, and robustly evaluated. Full biographies and presentation extracts are given below. Agenda: 17:30-18:00 ::: Registration18:00-18:50 ::: Talks and Q&A18:50-19:30 ::: Networking ** Wine and nibbles provided ** Tickets: We ask for a £1 contribution to help us run these events. Questions? You can email us on Want to find out about future seminars? To hear about the details as they are released, join our mailing list and follow us on Twitter @B4P_seminars. Biographies and presentation extracts: - Dr Catherine Dilnot  (Oxford Brookes University) Catherine is a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, in the department of Accounting, Finance and Economics and in 2019, following five years part-time study funded by the ESRC, was awarded a PhD from UCL. Catherine's research interest is in fair access to, and progress within, universities and leading professions, with a particular interest in the accounting profession and the role of subjects and qualifications taken age 16-19. Catherine will present: A Taxonomy of A-Level Subjects According to the Expressed Preferences of Russell Group Universities: Who Does What? The reasons why students from lower socio-economic groups are under-represented at highly selective universities are not entirely understood, but evidence suggests that part of the gap may be a consequence of differential choice of A-levels by social background. The Russell Group of universities has since 2011 published guidance on subject choices, describing some A-levels as ‘facilitating’ in that their choice keeps the largest number of Russell Group degree courses open to potential applicants. This study uses National Pupil Database data from three recent cohorts of English state school students taking at least three A-levels, and a taxonomy of all 96 A-levels certified for English students in 2014/15. Large differentials in subject choice by social background are found, particularly for facilitating subjects but also for subjects considered ‘less suitable’ by Russell Group universities. Linear probability models show that these differentials substantially disappear when GCSE attainment and subject choices at age 14+ are taken into account.  Closing the choice gap at A-level is likely therefore to depend on reducing differentials in attainment and subject choice by social background at GCSE.  The introduction of the eBacc may help with the GCSE subject choice element.    - Dr Laura Outhwaite  (UCL) Laura is currently a Research Fellow in the Centre for Educational Improvement Science at the Institute of Education, UCL. Her area of research expertise is focused on the evaluation of educational inventions using a mixed methods approach. She is particularly interested in technology based interventions to support mathematical development and how they can be most effectively implemented to maximise children’s learning. Laura will present: Lessons Learnt in Evaluating Educational Maths Apps Raising standards in mathematics is an issue of national importance. Recent statistics report that 21% of children leave primary school without the expected level for mathematics. Interactive maths apps delivered on touch-screen tablet devices offers a potential approach for addressing the maths-practice gap and helping to ensure all children develop a strong foundation in basic mathematical skills. Such approaches are growing in popularity with schools and governments increasingly investing in educational technology. However, formal research evaluating the impact of educational maths apps on children’s early mathematical development and the processes of scaling such interventions is nevertheless sparse. In response, this presentation will discuss a recent mixed-methods randomised control trial (RCT) that aimed to examine the efficacy of a new maths app intervention. The results and the affordances of this methodological approach will be discussed in light of recommendations for educational practitioners and policy makers. - Susannah Hume  (KCL What Works Department) Susannah is Associate Director for What Works at King’s College London. Her team is responsible for conducting research into supporting students to access and succeed at King’s. Susannah has been involved in running over 30 randomised controlled trials, including more than 10 in the areas of higher education access and retention, alongside survey and interview-based research, including the King’s Pulse Survey - a six-wave panel survey of first year undergraduates.

      Categories: Politics & Activism

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