The Research Group on Educational Effectiveness and Improvement is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Education at the University of Cyprus and focus at research at local, European and international level with the aim of promoting quality and equity in education and contributing to the theoretical and methodological development of the field of educational effectiveness and improvement. In particular, the group's activities focus on the following research areas.
Several studies conducted over the past two decades (e.g., Hattie, 2009; Kyriakides, Creemers, & Charalambous, 2018; Nye, Konstantopoulos, & Hedges, 2004) underline the critical role teachers and teaching have for student learning. In this context, our research team investigates how content-generic teaching practices (i.e., teaching practices that cut across different subject matters, such as classroom management or question posing) as well as content-specific practices (i.e., teaching practices that are more germane to specific subject matters or have particular manifestations in these subject matters, such as connecting representations in Mathematics or demonstrating certain movement skills in Physical Education) contribute to student cognitive, affective, psychomotor, and metacognitive learning. We consider the results of such investigations when designing interventions aiming to support the learning and professional development of teachers at the individual and school level. We also examine how teacher evaluation can contribute to improving teaching quality and consequently student learning. In particular, we focus on topics such as the criteria for teacher evaluation, different approaches for evaluating teachers in terms of their potential for capturing teaching quality, and the ways in which teacher and teaching evaluation can contribute to teachers’ learning and the improvement of their teaching.
The international literature on educational administration highlights the importance of educational leadership as a factor that can contribute to school improvement and effectiveness. Our research team examines in depth leadership theories and practices and in investigates their relationship to educational outcomes. Specifically, we focus on contemporary theories and perspectives, which include transformational leadership, distributed leadership, and instructional leadership. In relation to transformational leadership, an attempt is made to investigate its contribution to the effective administration of educational organisations and its link to the behaviours of teachers, students and other stakeholders in education. On the basis of relevant research, we arrive at conclusions and recommendations regarding the use of transformational leadership practices in education and the need to combine them with additional theoretical perspectives (such as instructional leadership). Moreover, all aspects of educational administration are examined, with emphasis on the areas linked to the motives and effectiveness of the teacher (e.g. job satisfaction, self-efficacy beliefs) and the educational system as a whole (e.g. financial aspects of education, link between higher education and the labour market).
Educational Effectiveness Research (EER) has benefitted greatly from the application of rigorous methodological approaches in designing and conducting effectiveness studies. For example, some of the studies conducted during the third and fourth phases of EER were only made possible due to further advances in research methodology, such as the use of advanced multilevel modelling and structural equation modelling techniques. As a result, we can identify improvements in both the methodology of EER and in the establishment of the knowledge base of the field. In this context, our research group aims to identify and discuss methodological problems encountered in educational effectiveness and improvement research and identify possible solutions. Specifically, we discuss issues associated with: (a) searching for causal relations in modelling educational effectiveness, (b) investigating the long-term effect of teachers and schools, (c) using two different dimensions (quality and equity) and different criteria to measure effectiveness, (d) developing appropriate instruments to measure outcomes and the functioning of different effectiveness factors, and (e) investigating the impact of evidence-based and theory-driven approaches to teacher and school improvement.