Demetriou, Merrell and Tymms have had their article "Mapping and predicting literacy and reasoning skills from early to later primary school" published in Learning and Individual Differences.

January 2017

Our partners from the Higher School of Economics (HSE), Russia visited to discuss the current iPIPS assessment. Professor Elena Kardanova, Alina Ivanova and Georgijs Kanonirs came to collaborate on the next phase of iPIPS assessments. You can read more about how iPIPS is being used in Russia here.

HSE will be hosting a seminar in Kazan in March 2017 with focus group meetings with teachers in Russia who have used the iPIPS Russia assessment. This will provide an opportunity to talk about their experiences of the assessment and the impact this has had on teaching in the region.

December 2016

Peter Tymms and Christine Merrell visited Brazil in December and met with our partners to discuss the outcomes of the current iPIPS Brazil trial. They also gave presentations at a seminar organised by the Instituto Alfa e Beto for researchers from Universities and Foundations, policy makers from Rio de Janeiro and other cities nearby. Click here for more information. Christine's presentation 'Methodological Aspects of iPIPS' discusses the need for a baseline assessment and the challenges to compare children's progress in different countries. Peter's presentation 'iPIPS, PISA and international comparisons' highlighted how iPIPS can help policy makers and why we should start to measure children's progress at a young age.

Whose Fault is PISA?

Peter comments on the recent PISA results in his article here. He suggests a baseline is really needed to know how effective an education system really is as we need to know where children are when they enter school and what progress the schools are responsible for. iPIPS has started to provide such a baseline and to create a fuller picture. So far, we have assessed pupils at the start of school in Russia, China, South Africa and Brazil using the international iPIPS assessment. It is now available in a dozen languages and iPIPS is steadily expanding.

November 2016

Two papers which used iPIPS Russia data were presented at the 17th Annual AEA Europe Conference 2nd-5th November 2016 in Limassol, Cyprus:

Ivanova, A., Antipkina, I. and Kardanova, E. (2016). The progress of first-year school children: Looking for factors for educational inequalities in the beginning of schooling. The PowerPoint presentation from the conference is here.

Vasilyeva, M., Ivanova, A. and Kardanova, E. (2016). Development of reading skills in pre-school students: The role of parental investments. Marina works at Boston University, U.S. and used the iPIPS data collected by the Russian team for this analysis. Her PowerPoint presentation from the conference is here.

June 2017

iPIPS South Africa have completed their studies. More information can be found in the report.

February 2017

The David and Elaine Potter Foundation are funding a 19 month pilot project in Lesotho to investigate solutions to the challenges faced in providing teachers there with information about their Grade 1 pupils. This pilot project will be led by Professor Christine Merrell and Professor Peter Tymms in partnership with Dr Ajayagosh Narayanan and Drs Gerard Mathot in Lesotho. If you would like to learn more about the project, please contact or


January 2020

The final report from Lesotho can be found here; please copy the link below and paste it into your browser.

December 2019

New publications for Russia and Brazil report on “the effect of phonological processing on mathematics performance” and “What do children know upon entry to pre-school” respectively. Click here to see all references

iPIPS Lesotho Pilot Project has made great progress over the past year, such as translating the assessment and providing immediate feedback for teachers. For more information click here

iPIPS Lesotho Pilot Project: 'Improving Basic Education in Grade 1' is about to begin. For more information click here

Report on data collected in South Africa is now available, please click here

'Mapping and predicting literacy skills from early to later primary school' by Demetriou, Merrell & Tymms has been published in Learning and Individual Differences.

October 2018

The iPIPS Lesotho project, which is funded by the David and Elaine Potter Foundation is getting well underway. Over the past year, the Lesotho team has recruited schools, translated the iPIPS assessment into Sesotho and made cultural adaptations.

We have produced a way to record the assessment data that immediately shows teachers what their learners know and can do, which is accompanied by guidance on how to improve children’s literacy and mathematics.

Following this development period and piloting of the new materials, we are now getting ready to train teachers for the main trial. Dr Tony Harries will travel to Maseru to lead the training sessions in November 2018. The main assessment periods will be January and November 2019.

The iPIPS Lesotho team is led by Dr Ajay Narayanan, Head Teacher at Cenez High School, Maseru. The other team members are: Gerard Mathot, Thapelo Mokokoane, Mamonaheng Matsau, Marorisang Lekholoane, Davis Pasa, Vincent Sekoala, Nkosinathi Mpalami, Makhahliso Malimabe & Mamakhetha Mathibeli.

August 2017

News Archive

September 2016

A paper will be published involving iPIPS in Russia. It looks at the maths attainment of children starting school with comparisons from England and Scotland. For more information, please contact Peter Tymms (

July 2016

'Assessing young children: Problems and solutions' by Tymms P and Merrell C was published in UNESCO's ebook 'Understanding what works in oral reading assessments'.

May 2016

Educational Research published a paper by CEM on 'Name writing ability not length of name is predictive of future academic attainment'. See the article also in TES.

April 2016

Academics from Russia, South Africa, China and England presented their iPIPS research at an iPIPS Symposium convened at the WERA and AERA Annual Conference in Washington DC.

January 2016

The Scottish Government published a research report by Tymms P., Merrell, C., and Buckley, H., on 'Children's development at the start of school and the progress made during their first year'. The report can be found here.

July 2015

The official assessment systems in England and the way that results are reported are changing. All of this against a a backdrop of a fractured support system for schools and less than satisfactory levels of teacher training on assessment. In July, the Association for the Study of Primary Education and CEM at Durham University brought together a group of high level speakers at the Primary Assessment and Accountability Conference to explore the current environment. Talks from Paul Leseman, Christine Merrell, Russell Hobby and Peter Tymms can be seen here (password 'conference').

May 2015

Doug Downey, Professor of Sociology, Ohio University visited on Thursday 14th May 2015. One of his interests is the extent to which country's PISA results parallel children's early test scores. iPIPS should be able to generate the necessary international data which is largely missing at the moment (

April 2015

Christine Merrell presented a paper at the AERA Annual Meeting in Chicago 16-19 April 2015. The paper was following up the academic progress of a cohort of 46,000 children from the start of school to age 11. At age 5, the teachers completed a rating scale about their pupils’ behaviour, specifically inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The early reading and mathematics development of children who were rated as severely inattentive were behind their peers at the start of school. By the age of 11, they have fallen significantly behind. Impulsivity appeared to be a positive attribute and hyperactivity was not significant.

Peter Tymms was invited to present iPIPS to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans in Chicago on 20th April 2015. His talk followed another by the Nobel prize winner Jim Heckman. Both talks generated considerable discussion about closing the gap. Heckman emphasised the role of non-cognitive skills and the importance of fostering their development in the early years whereas Peter argued that teachers need high quality data around which they can build interventions and track progress. Hopefully, iPIPS will figure in recommendations to the President.

David Hawker was invited, as a representative of Durham University, to the recent Salzburg Global Seminar on Early Childhood Care and Education, where he delivered the annual Bailey Morris-Eck lecture to an invited audience of early years experts and policy makers from around the world. The Salzburg Global Seminars were set up in the aftermath of the Second World War as a kind of 'Marshall Plan for the mind' - bringing senior thinkers, researchers and policy makers together from all parts of the world to develop and promote ideas for a better global future. The recent seminar on Early Years coincided with the final stages in the run up the the UN meeting later this year where a new set of 'Sustainable Development Goals' for 2030 is due to be adopted. One of the proposed goals is for all boys and girls to have access to quality early years development, childcare and education, to give them the best start in life. The seminar worked on the development of a high level international road map to achieve this ambitious goal. David's lecture focussed on the need for policy makers to have better quality comparative international data about children's development in the early years, and in the first year of school, in order to be able to evaluate the quality of early years and provide a baseline for later assessments of children's progress. It drew on the experience of the PIPS baseline assessment over the past 20 years, and argued the case for iPIPS as a way of providing the international comparative data needed. The lecture was received enthusiastically, and generated interest in iPIPS from a number of countries, including the USA, South Africa and India.

November 2014

WERA Meeting 19th-21st November, Edinburgh – Symposium titled “Children starting school around the world”. Presentations included:

    • “International comparative study called iPIPS” - Christine Merrell

    • “The challenges of equating tests between Russia and the UK” - Alina Ivanova

    • “Setting up iPIPS in the Western Cape of South African, challenges and opportunities” - Sarah Howie

iPIPS First International Forum in Edinburgh on 18th November 2014 – to discuss iPIPS and collaborative work with international partners with a view to answering questions about education in different countries around the world

September 2014

Many thanks to Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary General at the OECD, who visited Durham University and CEM and gave an inspiring talk on policy lessons from PISA

July 2014

David Preiss, Head of the Psychology Department of Pontificia Universidad Catolica of Chile visited the iPIPS team in the UK to discuss setting up iPIPS in Chile

June 2014

International Comparative Report – We have just published our first iPIPS international comparative report for the Department for Education, on children's progress in their first year at school comparing five jurisdictions

May 2014

IPIPS was successful in obtaining a grant from the Nuffield Foundation for work in South Africa

March 2014

Our colleagues from the Higher School of Economics, Moscow visited the iPIPS team to discuss their upcoming trial

Professor Peter Tymms, Director of iPIPS presented at the OECD High Level Policy Forum 'Skills for Social Progress' in Sao Paulo