Mary James, Fellow Commoner, retired in 2014 from her positions as Professor and Associate Director of Research at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education. In the 2000s, she directed the ESRC ‘Learning How to Learn’ project, within the Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP), of which she was deputy director. From 2011 to 2013 she was President of the British Educational Research Association. In 2011 she was a member of the Expert Panel appointed by the UK Coalition Government to assist the review the National Curriculum in England. She has been an adviser to the Hong Kong Education Bureau since 2000, and to the NordForsk ‘Education for Tomorrow’ programme from 2013-17. She was a member of the UK Assessment Reform Group from 1992-2010, and a non-executive director of Bell Educational Services Ltd from 2013-15. She has published more than 100 books, chapters and articles and, in 2013, her ‘selected works’ were published by Routledge. She began her career as a teacher in three secondary schools.

Relationship history with Lucy Cavendish College:

Fellow Commoner; formerly GB Fellow (1996 – 2004) until I left Cambridge for a Chair in IOE, London. Returned to Cambridge in 2007 as part-time professor in the Faculty of Education. Retired from the Faculty in 2014. 

Degrees and Honours:

BEd (Hons)(Sussex); MA (London); PhD (Open); MA(Cantab)

Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

Membership of Professional Bodies/ Associations:

British Educational Research Association (President 2001-2013)

Academy of Social Sciences


1.  Books and major published research reports

Pollard, A. with Black-Hawkins, K., Cliff Hodges, G., Dudley, P., James, M., Linklater, H., Swaffield, S., Swann, M., Turner, F., Warwick, P., Winterbottom, M. and Wolpert, M. A. (2014) Reflective Teaching in Schools: Fourth Edition, London: Bloomsbury.

James, M. (2013) Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Research: The selected works of Mary E. James. Abingdon: Routledge.

James, M. and Pollard, A. (eds) (2012) Principles for Effective Pedagogy: International responses to evidence from the UK Teaching and Learning Research Programme. Abingdon: Routledge.

Department for Education (2011) The Framework for the National Curriculum: a report of the Expert Panel for the National Curriculum review. London: Department for Education. (Authored by James, M., Oates, T., Pollard, A. and Wiliam, D.)

James, M., McCormick, R., Black, P., Carmichael, P., Drummond, M-J., Fox, A., MacBeath, J., Marshall, B., Pedder, D., Procter, R., Swaffield, S., Swann, J., and Wiliam, D. (2007) Improving Learning How to Learn - classrooms, schools and networks Abingdon: Routledge.

James, M., Black, P., Carmichael, P., Conner, C., Dudley, P., Fox, A., Frost, D., Honour, L., MacBeath, J., McCormick, R., Marshall, B., Pedder, D., Procter, R., Swaffield, S. and Wiliam, D. (2006) Learning How to Learn: tools for schools. Abingdon: Routledge.

James, M. (1998) Using Assessment for School Improvement. Oxford: Heinemann.

Arnot, M., Gray, J., James, M. and Rudduck, J., with G. Duveen, (1998) Recent Research on Gender and Educational Performance, (OFSTED Reviews of Research series) London: The Stationery Office.

Broadfoot P., Grant M., James, M., Nuttall D. and Stierer B., (1991) Records of Achievement:  Report of the National Evaluation of Extension Work in Pilot Schemes. London: HMSO.

Broadfoot P., James, M., McMeeking S., Nuttall D. and Stierer B., (1988) Records of Achievement:  Report of the National Evaluation of Pilot Schemes. London: HMSO.

Craft, M., Clements, M. and James, M. (1988) Dissemination of Natural Nashers and the Good Teeth Programme. London: Health Education Authority, Research Report No 20.

McCormick, R. and James, M. (1983, 2nd edition 1988) Curriculum Evaluation in Schools. First edition published by Croom Helm, Beckenham; second edition published by Routledge, London. Translated into Spanish by P. Manzano, (1996) Evaluacion del curriculum en los centros escolares . Madrid: Morata.

McCormick, R., Bynner, J., Clift, P., James, M. and Morrow Brown, C. (eds) (1982)Calling Education to Account. London: Heinemann Educational Books in association with the Open University.

2.  Articles in journals

James, M. (2017) (Re)viewing assessment: changing lenses to refocus on learning’, Assessment in Education: principles, policy and practice, 24:3, 404-414, DOI 10.1080/0969594X.2017.1318823.

James, M. (2015) ‘League Tables Must Go: there are better ways of ensuring a quality education for all our children’, FORUM, 57(1): 23 – 36 DOI 10.15730/forum.2015.57.1.23.

Antoniou, P. and James, M. (2014) ‘Exploring formative assessment in primary classrooms: Developing a framework of actions and strategies’, Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, DOI 10.1007/s11092-013-9188-4.

James, M. (2012) ‘Growing Confidence in Educational Research: threats and opportunities’, British Educational Research Journal, 38 (2): 181-201 DOI 10.1080/01411926.2011.650681

James, M. and Pollard, A. (2011) ‘TLRP’s ten principles for effective pedagogy: rationale, development, evidence, argument and impact’, Research Papers in Education, 28(3): 275-328. (TLRP Special Issue) DOI 10.1080/02671522.2011.590007

Pollard, A. and James, M. (2010) ‘The UK’s teaching and learning research programme (TLRP): strategies and contributions to large-scale reform’, Z Erziehungswiss. DOI 10.1007/s11618-010-0157-0

James, M. (2010) ‘Some bad news and some good news for educational research in the wake of the Comprehensive Spending Review’, Research Intelligence, 113: 6-8.

James, M. and McCormick, R. (2009) ‘Teachers Learning to Learn’, Teaching and Teacher Education, 25 (7 ): 973-982 (TLRP special issue.) DOI:10.1016/j.tate.2009.02.023

Daugherty, R., Black. P., Ecclestone, K., James, M. and Newton. P. (2008) ‘Alternative perspectives on Learning Outcomes: challenges for assessment’, The Curriculum Journal, 19(4): 243-254. DOI: 10.1080/09585170802509831

James, M. and Pollard, A. (2008) ‘What have we learned from TLRP?’ Education Review, 21(1): 90-100.

James, M. (2008) ‘More than the sum of the parts: principles for effective teaching and learning from the TLRP’, Curriculum and Assessment Update, Issue 4: 2,  Spring (DCELLS, Welsh Assembly Government).

James, M.  (2007) ‘Ten key messages from the UK’s biggest ever educational research programme’, Learning and Teaching Update, Issue 6: 5-7 July/August (Optimus Publishing.)

James, M. (2007) ‘What makes a good local school for every child? It’s the quality of teaching and learning, stupid!’ CSCS Journal, 18(1): 8-9.

James, M. (2006) ‘Balancing rigour and responsiveness in a shifting context: meeting the challenges of educational research’, Research Papers in Education 21(4): 365-380.

James, M. and Pedder, D. (2006) ‘Beyond method: assessment and learning practices and values’, The Curriculum Journal, 17(2) :109-138. 

James, M., Black, P. McCormick, R., Pedder, D. and Wiliam, D. (2006) ‘Introduction: learning how to learn, in classrooms, schools and networks: aims, design and analysis’, Research Papers in Education, 21(2): 101-118 (Special Issue on LHTL Project)

Black, P., McCormick, R., James, M. and Pedder, D. (2006) ‘Assessment for learning and learning how to learn: a theoretical inquiry’, Research Papers in Education 21(2): 119-132 (Special Issue on LHTL Project)

Pedder, D., James, M. and MacBeath, J. (2005) ‘How teachers value and practise professional learning’, Research Papers in Education, 20(3): 209-243.

James, M. and Brown, S. (2005) ‘Grasping the TLRP nettle: a preliminary analysis and some enduring issues surrounding the improvement of learning outcomes’, The Curriculum Journal, 16(1): 7-30 (TLRP Special Issue).

James, M., Pollard, A., Rees, G. and Taylor, C. (2005) ‘Researching Learning Outcomes: building confidence in our conclusions ’, The Curriculum Journal, 16(1): 109-122 (TLRP Special Issue).

James, M. (2001) ‘Perspectives on Learning and Assessment: rich tapestry or psycho-Babel?’ Thematic Review, British Educational Research Journal, 27(3): 371-374.

James, M. (2000) ‘Measured Lives: the rise of assessment as the engine of change in English schools’, The Curriculum Journal, 11(3): 343-364.

James, M. and Worrall, N. (2000) ‘Building a Reflective Community: development through collaboration between an HEI and one school over ten years’, Educational Action Research Journal, 8(2): 93-114.

James, M. (1999) ‘Learning the Way of the Tiger’, Primary Practice, 18: 28-30.

James, M. and Gipps, C. (1998) ‘Broadening the basis of assessment to prevent the narrowing of learning’, The Curriculum Journal, 9(3): 285-297.

James, M. (1998) 'The Implementation of the National Curriculum in England and Wales: an evaluation' (Special Contribution translated into Japanese), The Japanese Journal of Curriculum Studies, 7: 1- 13.

Harlen, W. and James, M. (1997) 'Assessment and Learning: differences and relationships between formative and summative assessment', Assessment in Education, 4(3): 365-379.

Conner, C. and James, M. (1996) 'The mediating role of LEAs in the interpretation of Government assessment policy at school level in England.' The Curriculum Journal, 7(2): 53-166.

James, M. (1994) 'Different Countries, Common Problems?' Review Essay of Airasian, P. (1991) Classroom Assessment.  McGraw-Hill, New York, Assessment in Education, 1(2): 261-268.

James, M. and Conner, C. (1993) 'Are Reliability and Validity Achievable in National Curriculum Assessment?  Some reflections on moderation at Key Stage One in 1992', The Curriculum Journal, 4(1): 5-19.

James, M. (1992) 'Democracy and Education:  some notes on past, present and future continuity in purposes for public education', Professional Development Matters: The Journal of the Association for Professional Development in Education, 3: 12-15.

James, M. (1983) 'Evaluation at Grassroots', Inspection and Advice:  Journal of the National Association of Inspectors and Educational Advisers, 18: 22-24.

James, M. (1983) ‘Course Evaluation and Curriculum Development', Nursing Times, 10-16 August: 46-48.

James, M. (1983) ‘The Importance of Purpose:  diversity in institutional self-evaluation', Journal of Evaluation in Education, 6: 10-13.

James, M. (1982) 'School Initiated Self-Evaluation and the Improvement of Educational Practice:  some issues for consideration', Classroom Action Research Network Bulletin, 5: 17-23.

James, M. (1980) 'On the Receiving End:  pupils' perceptions of learning sociology and social studies at 16', The Social Science Teacher, 10(2): 61-68.

3. Chapters in books

James, M. (2017) Chapter 31 'Embedding formative assessment in classroom practice'. In R.Maclean (Ed.) (2017) Life in Schools and Classrooms: Past, Present and Future. Part IX: Understanding Students and Pupils: Assessing Student Learning. Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects 38. Singapore: Springer, pp. 509-525. DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-3654-5_31

James, M., Pollard, A. and Gronn, P.  (2016) ‘Research and a standards-based primary teaching profession’. In P.Gronn and J. Biddulph (Eds) University Challenge: Cambridge’s Primary School for the Nation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 197-218.

James, M. (2012) ‘Chapter 3: An alternative to the objectives model: the process model for the design and development of curriculum’. In N. Norris and J. Elliott (eds) Curriculum, Pedagogy and Educational Research: The work of Lawrence Stenhouse. Abingdon: Routledge: 61-83.

James, M. (2012) ‘Chapter 12: Assessment in harmony with our understanding of learning: problems and possibilities’. In J. Gardner (ed) Assessment and Learning. Second Edition. London: Sage: 187-205.

Daugherty, R. Black, P., Ecclestone, K., James, M. and Newton, P.E. (2012) ‘Chapter 5: ‘Alternative perspectives on learning outcomes: challenges for assessment’. In J. Gardner (ed) Assessment and Learning. Second Edition. London: Sage: 72-86.

Pedder, D. and James, M. (2012) ‘Chapter 3: Professional learning as a condition for assessment for learning’. In J. Gardner (ed) Assessment and Learning. Second Edition. London: Sage: 33-48.

James, M. (2011) ‘Chapter 2: Assessment for Learning: research and policy in the (dis)United Kingdom’. In R. Berry and R. Adamson (eds) Assessment Reform in Education. New York: Springer: 15-32.

Daugherty, .R., Black, P., Ecclestone, K., James, M. and Newton. P. (2011) ‘Chapter 12: Assessment of Significant Learning Outcomes’. In R. Berry and R. Adamson (eds) Assessment Reform in Education. New York: Springer: 165-183.

James, M. (2010) ‘Educational Assessment: Overview’. In E.Baker, B.McGaw & P.Peterson (eds) International Encyclopedia of Education: Third Edition, Volume 3. Oxford: Elsevier: 161-171.

Pollard, A. and James, M. (2010) ‘Learning and teaching in primary schools: insights from TLRP’. In R.J. Alexander, C. Doddington, J. Gray, L. Hargreaves and R. Kershner (eds) The Cambridge Primary Review Research Surveys. Abingdon: Routledge: 525-547.

James, M. (2008) ‘Assessment and Learning’. In S. Swaffield (ed) Unlocking Assessment. London: Routledge: 20-35.

James, M. and Pedder, D. (2006) ‘Professional learning as a condition for assessment for learning’. In J. Gardner (ed) Assessment and Learning. London: Sage: 27-43.

James, M. (2006) ‘Assessment, teaching and theories of learning’: in J. Gardner (ed) Assessment and Learning. London: Sage: 47-60.

James, M. and Ponte, P. (1997) 'Het onderzoeken en verbeteren van de eigen praktijk'. In P. Ponte and P. Zwaal (eds) Over Grenzen: een nieuwe manier van werken aan leerling be geleiding in Nederland, Rusland, Amerika en Engeland. Leuven-Apeldoorn: Garant: 25-40.

James, M. (1995) 'Evaluating PSE and pastoral care? How shall we know success?' In R. Best, P. Lang, C. Lodge, and C. Watkins, (eds) Pastoral Care and PSE: entitlement and provision. London: Cassell: 249-265.

James, M. (1994) ' Experience of quality assurance at key stage one'. In W. Harlen, (ed) Enhancing Quality in Assessment. London:  Paul Chapman: 116-138.

James, M. (1994) 'LEA and HE partnership in support of school-based development projects'. In H. Bradley, C. Conner, and G. Southworth (eds) Developing Teachers, Developing Schools. London: David Fulton: 116-130.

James, M. (1993) 'Evaluation for Policy: rhetoric and political reality: the paradigm case of PRAISE'. In R. Burgess, (ed) Evaluation for Policy and Practice. Basingstoke: Falmer Press: 119-138.

James, M. (1989) 'Negotiation and Dialogue in Student Assessment and Teacher Appraisal'. In H. Simons and J. Elliott, (eds) Rethinking Assessment and Appraisal. Milton Keynes: Open University: 147-160.

James, M. (1987) 'Self-initiated Self-evaluation'. In P. Clift, D. Nuttall and G. Turner, (eds) Studies in School Self-evaluation. Basingstoke: Falmer Press:172-189.

James, M. (1987) 'Outcome Evaluation, Process Evaluation and the Experience of the Dental Health Study'. In Campbell G (ed) Health Education, Youth and Community. Basingstoke: Falmer Press: 313-322.

James, M., Clements, M. and Craft, M., (1985) 'The Training of Teachers and Organisers in School Health Education'. In D. Leathar, G. Hastings, K. O'Reilly and J. Davies, (eds) Health Education and the Media. London: Pergamon Press: 87-191.

Craft, M. and James, M. (1984) 'Never Mind the Research - Feel the Dissemination'. In G. Campbell, (ed) Health Education and Youth. Lewes: Falmer Press: 266-270.

James, M. and Ebbutt, D., (1981) 'Problems and Potential'. In J. Nixon, (ed) A Teachers' Guide to Action Research. London: Grant McIntyre: 91-95.

4. Other Output


James, M. (2017) Upper secondary education in Hong Kong: a case study. Royal Society, London. Downloadable from:

Mansell, W., James, M.and the Assessment Reform Group (2009) Assessment in schools. Fit for purpose? A commentary from the Teaching And Learning Research Programme. London: ESRC TLRP: 32pp.  Downloadable from

James, M. and Pollard, A.  (2008) ‘Learning and Teaching in Primary Schools: insights from TLRP’, Primary Review Research Survey 2/4, 28pp. Downloadable from 

James, M.  (2008) Only Connect! Improving teaching and learning in schools, (Professorial lecture delivered at the Institute of Education, University of London on 17th October 2007) London: Institute of Education: 28pp.

James, M. and Pollard, P., (2006) Improving teaching and learning in schools: a commentary by the Teaching and Learning Research Programme. Swindon: ESRC: 48pp. Downloadable from

Pollard, A. and James, M. with individual contributions from directors of five TLRP projects, (2004) Personalised Learning: a TLRP Commentary. Swindon: ESRC: 28pp. Downloadable from

Assessment Reform Group (2002) Assessment for Learning: 10 Principles. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Faculty of Education. Downloadable from

Assessment Reform Group (1999) Assessment for Learning: beyond the black box. Cambridge: University of Cambridge School of Education. Downloadable from

James, M., (1997) ‘The National Curriculum and Teacher Education in England’, The UK-Japan Education Forum Monograph, No.3, 16pp.