The Grammar School Question

A review of research on comprehensive and selective education

Paperback / softback, 72 pages, 210 mm x 148 mm
1 Dec 1999
Institute of Education

Price: £6.95

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This review of research evidence on selective and comprehensive education is an important contribution to the debate on the future of English grammar schools. Few educational issues generate so much passion. After an outline of current policy on grammar schools and a historical overview of selective and comprehensive education, the review provides readers with a chronologically ordered summary of relevant research. The ideological leanings and methodological strengths and weaknesses of particular studies are identified. Although clear-cut conclusions cannot be reached from these studies, it does seem that some groups of children tend to perform better academically in grammar schools, while others achieve more in comprehensive schools. However, overall performance at system level is much the same and studies have found larger differences between the results of different schools of the same type than between the average results of different systems. In conclusion, the authors consider some of the implications of ending or retaining selection in the present context.

  • David Crook

    At the time of publication, David Crook was a Lecturer in History at the Institute of Education, University of London.

  • Sally Power

    At the time of publication, Sally Power was Senior Lecturer in Policy Studies at the Institute of Education, University of London.

  • Geoff Whitty

    At the time of publication, Geoff Whitty was Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London.

1 Introduction
2 Historical overview
3 Selective versus comprehensive education: a review of research and other writings
4 Discussion
Appendix A: List of schools subject to possible ballots
Appendix B: Meaning of ‘eligible parent’