Robert Coe is Professor in the School of Education and Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM), Durham University. Before embarking on an academic career, Rob Coe was a teacher of mathematics, with experience in a range of secondary schools and colleges. He left teaching in 1995 to study full-time for a PhD at Durham University, and then stayed on as a Research Associate and Lecturer.
His research interests are wide-ranging and include: evaluation methodology; Evidence-Based Education and the involvement of practitioners in research; school effectiveness and improvement, including the methodology of school effectiveness research; the use and effects of feedback, especially in performance monitoring information systems; and the statistical comparability of examinations in different subjects and over time.
His teaching is also varied, including research methods courses from undergraduate to Ed.D. level, and specialist Masters level courses in Experiments in Education and in Educational Assessment, as well as contributing to initial teacher training. His methodological expertise lies in areas such as general statistical analysis, experimental design, meta-analysis, multilevel modelling, construct measurement and item response models.
The Sutton Trust published a report in October 2014 titled ’What makes a Great Teacher?’ a review of the under pinning research by Professor Rob Coe.
This report reviews over 200 pieces of research to identify the elements of teaching with the strongest evidence of improving attainment. It finds some common practices can be harmful to learning and have no grounding in research. Specific practices which are supported by good evidence of their effectiveness are also examined and six key factors that contribute to great teaching are identified. The report also analyses different methods of evaluating teaching including: using ‘value-added’ results from student test scores; observing classroom teaching; and getting students to rate the quality of their teaching.
The two factors with the strongest evidence of improving pupil attainment are:
- teachers’ content knowledge, including their ability to understand how students think about a
- subject and identify common misconceptions
- quality of instruction, which includes using strategies like effective questioning and the use of assessment
Specific practices which have good evidence of improving attainment include:
- challenging students to identify the reason why an activity is taking place in the lesson
- asking a large number of questions and checking the responses of all students
- spacing-out study or practice on a given topic, with gaps in between for forgetting
- making students take tests or generate answers, even before they have been taught the material
Common practices which are not supported by evidence include:
- using praise lavishly
- allowing learners to discover key ideas by themselves
- grouping students by ability
- presenting information to students based on their “preferred learning style”Full report can be found HERE