Events organised by the Local Educational Ethos project

Seminar: Koulu ja eriarvoisuus 18.8.2022

Location: Minerva-tori (K228, Siltavuorenpenger 5A, Helsinki)

Time: 9:00–11:30

Registration for the event:

ONLINE SEMINAR: School Contexts, Grouping Practices and Social (In)equality

LEE organised an open online Seminar on "School Contexts, Grouping Practices and Social (In)equality" on May 5, 2021, 9:00-12:00.

Invited keynote speakers were Professor Martin Thrupp from University of Waikato (NZ) and Senior Research Associate Becky Taylor from UCL Institute of Education (UK), with commentaries from LEE researchers.

PROGRAMME May 5, 2021

09:00 Assistant Professor, LEE project leader Sonja Kosunen (University of Helsinki): Welcome and introduction to the seminar

09:15 Keynote: Professor Martin Thrupp (University of Waikato, New Zealand): Let’s be realistic! 20 years on: Better Educational Research and the Hope for Schools Making a Difference

09:45 Commentary: PhD Researchers Heidi Huilla and Sara Juvonen (University of Helsinki)

Professor Thrupp’s further thoughts in reply

10:30 Keynote: Senior Research Associate Becky Taylor (UCL Institute of Education, UK): Attainment Grouping and Social Inequality

11:15 Commentary: University Researcher Marja Peltola (University of Tampere) and PhD Researchers Tiina Luoma and Riikka Oittinen (University of Helsinki)

General discussion

11:50 Closing of the seminar


Becky Taylor, UCL Institute of Education: ‘Attainment grouping and social inequality’

The Best Practice in Grouping Students project explored the impact of attainment grouping and mixed attainment grouping on the outcomes of 11-13 year olds in 140 English secondary schools. In this keynote I will share findings from this research and examine how significant gaps in student outcomes remain predicated on factors such as social background and ethnicity. I will share recommendations to promote socially-just and effective grouping practices. I will also outline how we are taking this research further to focus on the relationship between grouping opportunity to learn and teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge in our new project, The Student Grouping Study.

Martin Thrupp, University of Waikato: 'Let’s be realistic! 20 years on: Better educational research and the hope for schools making a difference'

Published in 1999, my book Schools making a difference: let’s be realistic! became an often-cited response to the school effectiveness and school improvement (SESI) movement. Research in the SESI area frequently over-claimed that high quality schooling could overcome the effects of social disadvantage on student achievement. Twenty years later, subsequent studies allow an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the impacts of school contexts on student achievement, as well as how the agency of teachers, principals and others associated with school communities can mediate disadvantage at the local level. This presentation will take stock of research developments in the area of school contexts and student achievement over the last two decades. As the impacts of school contexts become better understood, perhaps we can find new hope for genuine ways to help educators make an important difference to the attainment and life-chances of children and young people.