Yesterday, I published an article that had been rejected for publication in Impact magazine, the journal of England’s Chartered College of Teaching.
Following publication, and a discussion about this on Twitter, the College made claims about the contents of the review comments. Specifically, they claimed that, at no point did reviewers take issue with the opinions in my piece:
I have previously asked the College for permission to publish the review comments and they declined on the basis that they had not sought permission from the reviewers for me to do this. I therefore asked the College if they would seek permission from the reviewers. They replied that this was not something that they would do.
The Chartered College has been set-up with five million pounds of UK taxpayer money after failing to raise sufficient cash through a crowd-funding campaign. Many UK teachers have concerns about the College, how it will compare to the defunct and disliked General Teaching Council and whether it will become a mechanism for educationalists to impose their ideas on classroom teachers. In addition, the article that I wrote is critical of the approach of the Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF), another body in receipt of large amounts of public money. That is why it is in the public interest to scrutinise the College and the EEF, and that is why I have published details of the process of submitting my article, something I would not do if submitting an article to an academic journal.
Given the public interest argument, the fact that the reviewers are anonymous and cannot be identified in the reviews and the fact that the College have now chosen to make claims about the content of these reviews, I have decided to take the step of publishing them in the link at the end of this post. Paraphrasing them was never going to be satisfactory because of the potential for unconscious bias in how I completed this task.
There are a few points to note. I sent a first draft to Impact and received the first three reviews. I then revised my piece on the basis of the first and second review in order to make it more clear that I was criticising both the use of meta-analysis in general and the way the EEF used meta-analysis. I also fixed some relatively minor points, including one about a missing reference. It is the revised piece that I published yesterday. As requested by the College, I provided them with a detailed, point-by-point response to all of the issues raised in the first three reviews. These were mostly points raised by the first reviewer because they were far more numerous.
The College then sent out my revised piece to four new reviewers.
I will not comment on the reviews in this post because I would like you to make up your own mind. However, there is one potential point of confusion that is worth clearing up. One reviewer wrote that, “the assertion that the Toolkit indicates that a teacher will get 8 months’ progress is wrong and misleading.” If you look at the toolkit today, you will see that the figure is +7 months of additional progress and so you may therefore think that the reviewer’s point is that I got this figure wrong. However, this figure was altered on the 13th April 2018. At the time that I wrote the article, and at the time it was reviewed, this figure was +8 months.
You can read the reviews here.