IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Measuring educational progress in Britain since the Beveridge Report

18 May 2016, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Measuring educational progress

Event Information

Open to



Jeffrey Hall, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AL.

This event is part of the Quantitative Social Science (QSS) seminar series.


Anthony Heath, CBE, FBA (Oxford and Manchester)


One of the five giant evils identified by Beveridge in his 1942 report was Ignorance.  As part of a wider project examining progress in tackling the 'five giants', this paper explores progress in tackling the giant of Ignorance. The paper compares trends over time using a variety of indicators such as staying on rates at school, acquisition of qualifications such as GCSE, scores on literacy and numeracy tests, the results of cross-national studies such as PISA and PIAAC, and some measures of wider outcomes of educational progress such as feelings of efficacy (which are strongly associated with higher levels of education). The provisional conclusions are that (1) there has probably been modest although glacial progress in cognitive skills and efficacy, (2) there is a pressing need for rigorous independent measures of educational progress which are not subject to 'Goodhart's law' (that when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure) in the way that official statistics are.

This event is open to all, free of charge. Please RSVP to Emma Wisby to reserve your place.