Title: When can you trust meta-analyses?
Summary: Meta-analysis represents a considerable advance on earlier methods of research synthesis such as narrative reviews, and has been highly successful in the medical sciences. However, its use in education raises substantial methodological issues. While some of these issues—such as the age-dependence of effect sizes—can be addressed relatively easily, others are poorly understood. The result is that the results of educational meta-analyses are difficult to interpret, and aggregates of such results are essentially meaningless. This presentation will discuss the main challenges for educational meta-analyses, and provide participants with a guide to interpreting the relevance and applicability of meta-analyses to their own context.
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Dylan Wiliam is Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London. In a varied career, he has taught in inner-city schools, directed a large-scale testing programme, served a number of roles in university administration, including Dean of a School of Education, and pursued a research programme focused on supporting teachers to develop their use of assessment in support of learning.