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My main research interests are in the social constructions and consequences of tests, examinations and assessment practices.  I am particularly interested in socio-cultural approaches to understanding the impact of assessment on students' lives; gender and its interaction with assessment techniques and practices and theoretical and methodological issues in educational assessment research and practice. Recent projects include: young people’s participation in qualification reform in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; and understanding examination predictability in the Irish leaving certificate.

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Open to PhD applications in the fields of 

  • Educational assessment
  • Gender and achievement
  • Inequalities in educational achievement
  • Assessment policy reform and implementation
  • Single-sex and mixed-sex schooling
  • Gender and education
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Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science
School Of Social Sciences, Education And Social Work

Centre for Children's Rights


Research students

PhD Title: Assessment and Children’s Rights: Using a Children’s Rights Based Approach to (re)consider the impact of the current arrangements for pupil transfer to post-primary school

Name: Leanne Henderson
Years of Study: 2014-2018
Country: Northern Ireland

PhD Title: Rural and Urban differences in young people's educational achievements

Name: Gemma Cherry
Years of Study: 2016-2019
Country: Northern Ireland


PhD Title: Impact and Washback of IELTS test on Chinese students in English Immersion College

Name: Hui Ma
Years of Study: 2016-2020
Country: China


Research students

EdD title: Assessment in Higher Education – A Case Study

Name: Aisling Keane (part-time)
Years of Study: 2016-2019
Country: Northern Ireland

EdD title: Student Attitudes to Formative Feedback in Summative Assessment in Higher Education

Name: Claire McCann (part-time)
Years of Study: 2010-2018
Country: Northern Ireland


EdD title: Evaluating widening access in Higher Education

Name: Tim Crawford (part-time)
Years of Study: 2014-2020
Country: Northern Ireland


Alumni: where are they now?

Rhian Barrance

PhD Title: Young People’s Views and Experiences of GCSE Reform in Northern Ireland and Wales

Years of Study: 2013-2017
Country: Wales
Current position: Research Fellow, University of Cardiff

Whitney Wall

PhD Title: Teachers' knowledge of, and roles in, formative assessment in mathematics classrooms

Years of Study: 2009-2012
Country: USA
Current position: Researcher, Virginia Tech University

Donna Kernaghan

PhD Title: Girls, bullying and new technologies: their experiences and perspectives

Years of Study: 2008-2011
Country: Northern Ireland
Current position: Policy Officer, Barnardos UK

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