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Evidence-based policy-making and exam board insider researchers: creating communicative spaces

By Lena Gray


This article conceptualises the relationship between exam board insider researchers and the policy-making context in which they operate. Exam board researchers are constrained by commercial and political interests in disclosing their knowledge and face pressures in disseminating research, but they also find themselves working in contexts where calls to ‘evidence-based policy-making’ are ubiquitous. This can de-professionalise and disenfranchise the researcher.

This article will depict the context faced by exam board researchers attempting to influence policy before portraying possible responses, evaluating how these can be applied to exam board research, with reference to research on standard-setting. The article will build on a conceptualisation of successful exam board insider research as the creation of Habermasian ‘communicative spaces’, applying lessons from research–policy interface literature to that conceptualisation. In applying those lessons, the article will suggest possible solutions to the problems faced by that group in their attempts to influence policy-makers.


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