Education research

The Ogden Trust has funded (or is currently funding) six PhD/EdD projects.

The transition between KS2 and KS3 – using science as a catalyst
Doug Ashton, Birmingham City University
This research will form part of an Educational Doctorate and follows a taught schedule with modules and assignments to complete. The first year has focused on potential research methods for the study, which will investigate the transition period between primary and secondary school (KS2 – KS3).

Following the Year 6 SATS, there is significant time left in the summer term, and this research will look at how this time can be used more efficiently and what can be done to ensure it is purposeful and useful to not only the children, but also the primary and secondary schools.

Can adaptive formative assessment of problem- solving skills help close demographic gaps in physics attainment?
Cameron Crook, Open University
This research seeks to address demographic attainment gaps in physics by producing an electronic resource to train underachieving students in problem-solving through adaptive formative assessment. The resource will work with the principle of scaffolding – providing a helpful framework to guide students through a problem. Initially, problems will be highly scaffolded, supplying users with lots of helpful information, particularly aiding underperforming students. As their competence increases, scaffolding will be gradually removed by the resource, encouraging students to ‘self- scaffold’. To start, research will focus on the attainment gap between males and females, as this is well-documented and provides well-balanced groups to test the efficacy of our intervention.

Study of the cognitive skills and transversal competencies of qualified physicists and their potential application to physics learning in schools
Elizabeth Crilly, University of Leeds
This research focuses on physics subject competences and the variables: cognitive processing; physics identity; learning characteristics; and motivation. It uses a new lens of research that is physics educated adults. Data collection is by means of an online questionnaire. A quantitative and qualitative analysis of the participants’ self-assessment of ‘doing physics’ could provide a useful reference from which to identify key features of high performance learning associated with physics. From a large sample size, the research aims to record the level of diversity of physics Identity, learning character and motivations that shaped the participants’ journey in learning.

Routes to excellence: documenting the development of professionalism in UK physics teachers
James de Winter, University of Uppsala
There are three current research strands; the first looks at views on the characteristics of what a ‘good’ physics teacher is, from across the education community, the second strand explores the role of mathematics in physics teaching from the perspective of trainee teachers, and the third strand is a collaborative project looking at physics teacher training in the UK, Finland, Sweden and Singapore.

To explore how participation by children in science leadership teams in primary school affects their self-concept in science
Carole Kenrick, Institute of Education University College London
The research focuses on pupils who are eligible for Pupil Premium – they are far less likely than their peers to choose science subjects at A-level or to pursue science-based careers. It will follow the journey of three groups of children, who fit into one of three categories:
1. are currently in a child science leadership team
2. have been in a child science leadership team, and are still in primary school
3. have been in a child science leadership team, and are in secondary school
Of these, a small number of case studies will be selected to understand their journeys and whether this experience in primary school has an impact over time, as they choose their GCSE options and begin to seriously consider their future careers.

Understanding the impact of science laboratories in English primary schools
Amanda Poole, University of Warwick
This quantitative study aims to explore the phenomenon of Phiz Labs in 12–16 primary schools in England. Following the pilot study, the foci of this research has been condensed to focus on three aspects of the Phiz Lab project:
- affect children’s learning experiences and outcomes?
- the leadership of primary science in the school?
􏰃- successful educational innovations from the Phiz Lab project?


In addition to these students, the Trust has supported a small number of other research projects from across its network:

  • Wendy Cox, MSc in Education: researching the impact of the primary teachers’ trip to CERN
  • Jackie Flaherty, Master’s in Teaching
  • Jess Hunt, Master of Education degree
  • Asmi Bardot, Master of Education degree


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