Professor Ian Abrahams
University of Lincoln, UK
Prof. Ian Abrahams is Head of the School of Education and Professor of Science Education at the University of Lincoln UK. His research in science education has both a national and international reputation – indeed many of his articles, in the area of science education, are amongst the most frequently read and widely cited on the International Journal of Science Education web site. Ian’s reputation in this area of research has led to him being invited to work with Ofqual on the assessment of A-level practical work and, in particular, to recently advise on the design of a suite of practical tasks to assess the validity of the assessment of A-level students’ practical skills as part of the new Practical Endorsement.
Ian’s expertise has led to the development of teaching materials that illustrate the concept of what he has referred to as ‘hands-on’ and ‘minds-on’ practical work. His book ‘Abrahams, I. (2011) Practical work in school science: A minds-on approach. London: Continuum’ is widely used in initial teacher training programmes in the UK and this, and another book, ‘Abrahams, I., & Reiss, M. (Eds) (2016) Effective practical work in secondary science 11-16. London: Bloomsbury Academic’, were both produced in response to a large number of requests from science teachers for more examples of how to undertake effective practical work using the ‘hands-on’ and ‘minds-on’ approach. The latest book has received numerous recommendations from those involved in science initial teacher training and, as such, looks set to become particularly influential in how science is taught across Key Stages 3 and 4 (ages 11-16).
Ian has been involved as Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator in a number of major research grants that, over the past decade, have totalled £871,000 in addition to various additional smaller grants. His first significant grant, as a Principal Investigator, was from the DCSF (2009-2011: £77,426) which was to evaluate the ‘Getting Practical: Improving practical work in science programme’. This project was then followed by another award, again as a Principal Investigator, from the Wellcome Trust (2012-2014: £179,000) to evaluate a pilot CPD programme for primary science coordinators. More recently Ian has, as Co-Investigator, been awarded by the Lincoln Research Fund (2015-2016: £49,718) to pilot a paired mentoring RCT project designed to raise attainment and improve attitudes towards science in disadvantaged Year 11 school students. The results of this project have shown the impact, in terms of raising academic attainment and improving attitudes, to be statistically significant and Ian has now been awarded (2019-2021), as Principal Investigator, £565,000 from the Education Endowment Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust for an expanded mentoring project with partners from the universities of Lincoln, Leeds, Liverpool, UCL IOE, and York.