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Our responsibility as a company is to play our full part in informing, shaping and making learning effective for people of all ages. This focus on learning outcomes is a critical part of our responsibility vision.

In the past, there were limitations on the extent to which a textbook publisher selling products to education institutions could measure their impact on learning outcomes. As our transition towards being an education technology and solutions provider gathers pace, so do the opportunities to help understand what works best to help students succeed. We recognise this as we become more directly involved in the process of learning, and more accountable for outcomes.

We have:

  • Appointed Sir Michael Barber as Chief education advisor. As part of his role, Michael will oversee our efforts on improving learning outcomes.
  • Convened our first global research conference bringing together and sharing good practice among the research community within Pearson.
  • Incorporated improving learning outcomes as one of the five core themes we debated at our annual strategy conference.
  • Appointed a network of business champions to take forward our developing agenda.
  • Piloted a new tool to help us assess learning outcomes.

We will:

  • Set up an online portal to bring together all the research we commission from around the world into a single searchable site.
  • Further extend our pilot into assessing learning outcomes.
  • Start to map by product, service and geography our approach to assessing learning impacts.
  • Establish a Pearson Executive Research Council to oversee the approach, process and consistency of commissioning and using research within Pearson.
  • Run an internal awareness campaign on this aspect of the responsibility agenda within the company.

We continue to devote significant resources to improving student success and institutional effectiveness by:

Ensuring that our own education programmes are developed and assessed for quality, efficacy and usability.

We work closely with teachers, students, researchers and others to ensure our programmes are assessed.

Helping close achievement gaps for individual learners and schools.

Pearson is investing in new models of education to set up or support schools and districts by helping to make fundamental changes and sustain improvements for the long term. We draw on Pearson’s research and proven resources – including curriculum, assessment, technology, and teacher professional development products and services.

Case study: Bridge International Academies in Kenya

Bridge academies offers quality schooling for less than $4 per month. How to extend access to quality schooling as an affordable option for the world's poorest people is a vitally important question. Pearson is a significant minority investor in Bridge, and views the Bridge model as having the potential for providing low‑cost schooling in other parts of the world as well. We have made a commitment for 2012 to look to further invest in new low‑cost, sustainable solutions to schooling, inviting others to partner with us. Learning outcomes are key metrics in our investment model.

Case study: UK examination awarding bodies

Since becoming involved in the English examinations system in 2003 through acquiring the awarding body Edexcel, Pearson has drawn on cross-company technological and assessment expertise to make major strategic investments in on-screen marking and other sector-leading initiatives. Through this investment, Edexcel has built a reputation for innovation and reliability in the UK qualifications sector. A series of media reports in December called into question the integrity and credibility of the exams system based on an investigation into events for teachers run by the major awarding organisations in the UK.

We have recognised that changes need to be made to the way awarding bodies hold and manage events and have introduced a series of changes to enable a much greater degree of transparency and public scrutiny. These changes include events being recorded and audited. Our statements can be viewed here. We have also launched a major public consultation programme on the future direction of standards in the education system in the UK at:

Supporting teacher education and development.

We work with teachers to improve teaching effectiveness providing content and services that help teachers develop from their earliest undergraduate experiences and throughout their teaching careers.

Case study: Educator effectiveness, Pearson North America

A priority for Pearson is to help teachers understand and improve their performance - what's working, what isn't, and what they need to do to continuously improve their impact on student learning. By giving teachers the insight they need, they can set their own improvement plans and in turn reach students in ever more meaningful ways. In 2011, we launched our educator effectiveness programme in the US to offer this service. By bringing together classroom observation, student performance data, peer reviews and performance surveys, it is possible to start to develop tailored support for educators throughout their career.

Read more here.