• Who am I?

    Who am I?

    I gained my PhD from the Centre for Applied Research in Education, University of East Anglia, where I studied with Barry MacDonald, Jean Rudduck and Lawrence Stenhouse. I was Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, working with Roger Murphy (1982-89) and Lecturer, Reader and Professor at the University of Sussex (1989-2003) prior to moving to MMU in 2003. I am an elected Academician of the UK Academy of Social Sciences.

  • Research Expertise, Publications & Grants

    Research expertise

    Research interests include:
    the inter-relation of assessment, teaching and learning;
    testing and educational standards;
    the role of assessment in educational reform and policy development;
    qualitative research methodology;
    the development of applied research and the relationship between research and policy;
    research governance and research management.
    He has undertaken many research projects investigating these topics funded by a wide range of sponsors.

    • Publications

      • Books (authored/edited/special issues)

        P. Broadfoot, R. Murphy, H. Torrance (2012). Changing Educational Assessment International Perspectives and Trends. Routledge.

        H. Torrance (2012). Educational Assessment and Evaluation (Four-Volume Set in the Routledge ‘Major Themes in Education’ series, 2052pp). H. Torrance. London: Routledge.

        H. Torrance (2010). Qualitative Research Methods in Education (Four-Volume Set in the Sage Major Works series). H. Torrance. London: Sage.

        H. Torrance (1998). Investigating Formative Assessment: teaching, learning and assessment in the classroom,. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

        H. Torrance (1995). Evaluating authentic assessment problems and possibilities in new approaches to assessment. Open University.

        . Torrance H (Editor) (1988). National Assessment and Testing - A Research Response. H. Torrance. British Educational Research Association.

      • Journal articles

        H. Torrance (2017). The Return to Final Paper Examining in English National Curriculum Assessment and School Examinations: Issues of Validity, Accountability and Politics. British Journal of Educational Studies. pp.1-25.

        H. Torrance (2017). Blaming the victim: assessment, examinations, and the responsibilisation of students and teachers in neo-liberal governance. Discourse. 38(1), pp.83-96.

        H. Torrance (2017). Experimenting with Qualitative Inquiry. Qualitative Inquiry. 23(1), pp.69-76.

        H. Torrance (2014). Qualitative Research in the United Kingdom: Short-Term Problems, Long-Term Issues. Qualitative Inquiry. 20(9), pp.1110-1118.

        H. Torrance (2013). The Practice of Educational and Social Research. International Review of Qualitative Research. 6(3), pp.323-336.

        H. Torrance (2012). Formative assessment at the crossroads: Conformative, deformative and transformative assessment. Oxford Review of Education. 38(3), pp.323-342.

        H. Torrance (2012). Triangulation, Respondent Validation, and Democratic Participation in Mixed Methods Research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research. 6(2), pp.111-123.

        H. Torrance (2011). Using Assessment to Drive the Reform of Schooling: Time to Stop Pursuing the Chimera?. British Journal of Educational Studies. 59(4), pp.459-485.

        H. Torrance (2008). Building confidence in qualitative research: Engaging the demands of policy. Qualitative Inquiry. 14(4), pp.507-527.

        H. Torrance (2007). Assessment as learning? How the use of explicit learning objectives, assessment criteria and feedback in post‐secondary education and training can come to dominate learning. 1. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice. 14(3), pp.281-294.

        H. Torrance, J. Pryor (2001). Developing formative assessment in the classroom: Using action research to explore and modify theory. British Educational Research Journal. 27(5), pp.615-631.

        H. Torrance Experimenting With Qualitative Inquiry. Qualitative Inquiry. 23(1), pp.69-76.

        C. Baker, G. Claxton, J. Elwood, C. Gipps, MC. Linn, et al. P. Murphy, AJ. Nitko, J. Pryor, H. Torrance. (1995). Notes on Contributors. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice. 2(3), pp.359-360.

      • Chapters in books

        H. Torrance (2017). Evidence, Criteria, Policy and Politics: the debate about quality and utility in educational and social research. In: The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research 5th Edition. Sage,

        H. Torrance (2015). ‘Investigating Research Power: Networks, Assemblages, and the Production of “Big” Social Science’. M. Perez, G. Cannella, P. Pasque. In: Critical Qualitative Inquiry Foundations and Futures (Eds Cannella, Perez & Pasque). Routledge, pp.265-284.

        H. Torrance (2014). Open Learning, Open Assessment? Learning, Assessment and Certification in a Global Education Competition’. . Peters, Araya & Besley. In: The New Development Paradigm: Education, Knowledge Economy and Digital Futures. New York: Peter Lang,

        H. Torrance (2013). Philosophy is not enough: Inserting methodology and politics into the space between science and democracy. In: A Companion to Research in Education. pp.401-405.

        H. Torrance (2012). Assessing Educational Reform: accountability, standards and the utility of qualifications. . Young, Daniels, Balarin & Lowe J.. In: Educating for the Knowledge Economy? Critical Perspectives. Routledge,

        D. Wyse, E. McCreery, H. Torrance (2012). The trajectory and impact of national reform: Curriculum and assessment in English primary schools. In: The Cambridge Primary Review Research Surveys. pp.702-726.

        H. Torrance (2011). Qualitative Research, Science and Government: evidence, criteria, policy and politics. . Denzin & Lincoln. In: The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research 4th Edition. Sage, pp.569-580.

      • Conferences

      • Other


    Selected funded projects:

    2014-15 HEFCE £158,000
    Investigating the expectations and attitudes towards postgraduate taught (PGT) STEM study in Engineering
    with David Lambrick (Engineering, MMU) and Yvette Solomon (ESRI)

    2008-09 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) £10,000
    Consultancy to ESRC Strategic Review 2010-2015: 'Meta review of ESRC Key Research Challenge: Education for Life': preparation of 10,000 word review paper.

    2007-08 ESRC £10,000
    Consultancy to Review ESRC Investment in Educational Research: preparation of 10,000 word review paper.

    2006-07 ESRC via TLRP Thematic Development £5,000
    Reviewing Reviews (with Sebba, University of Sussex)

    2005-2006 ESRC £46,536
    Investigating Effective Strategies for Maths Teaching at Key Stage 3 (with Una Hanley)

    2003-2005 Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) £226,000
    The Impact of Different Modes of Assessment on Achievement and Progress in the Learning and Skills Sector

    2003 Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) £39,000
    Research Review of the Impact of Summative Assessment on Students' Motivation to Learn in the Learning and Skills Sector

    2002-2005 EU Socrates/Minerva Programme, £41,000
    Internet-based Assessment in Higher Education (Director of project at Sussex 2002-3; continued as co-director, with Dr. John Pryor (Sussex) to completion in 2005)

    1997-99 ESRC £69,000
    Investigating and Developing Formative Teacher Assessment in Primary Schools (with Pryor, University of Sussex)

    1993-96 ESRC £113,000
    Teacher Assessment at Key Stage 1: accomplishing assessment in the classroom

    1989-97 British Council/Overseas Development Agency (ODA), c.£350,000
    Evaluation of the Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project (with B. Cooper and C. Lacey)

  • Engagement & Knowledge Exchange
  • Awards, Honours & Distinctions

    Prizes and awards

    Elected Academician of the UK Academy of Social Sciences

    Other distinctions

    Appointed member of the ESRC Peer Review College.

    Expert reviewer for external funding bodies

    Referee for various sponsors including Nuffield Foundation, British Academy, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Research Council of Hong Kong, the World Bank and the Estonian Science Foundation.

    Editiorial Board membership

    Series editor of series of books on research methods: Conducting Educational Research for the Open University Press; thirteen titles in print

    Series editor of a series of books on assessment: Assessing Assessment for the Open University Press; nine titles in print

    Member of the editorial boards of:

    • Assessment in Education (1994-present)
    • Cambridge Journal of Education (2000-present)
    • International Journal of Educational Research (2004-present)
    • Educational Research (journal of the NFER, 2005-present)
    • International Review of Qualitative Research (2007-present)

    Formerly co-editor of the:

    • British Educational Research Journal (2000-2003)

    Formerly member of the editorial board of the:

    • British Educational Research Journal and
    • Journal of Curriculum Studies (1990-1993)