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Dr ZhiMin Xiao

Dr ZhiMin Xiao

Lecturer in Educational Data Science

 4733

 +44 (0) 1392 724733

 Baring Court BC207

 

Baring Court, University of Exeter St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK

 Office hours:

Please email to make an appointment.

Personal Website

Overview

One sentence introduction:

I am a Lecturer in Educational Data Science, meaning I look back on the past in order to look into the future.

Slightly longer:

Motivated by social problems such as unequal access to education and inequality in health and wellbeing, I am interested in educational programmes that unbar the gate without lowering the bar and, research projects that hold promise to help solve or re-solve the problems through improved data analysis and effective storytelling.

Even longer:

I worked in Durham University as a Research Data Scientist before joining the Graduate School of Education in Exeter. In Durham, I conducted follow-up analyses of increasingly big trial data from educational interventions funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in England. All EEF projects are independently evaluated by research teams from universities and research organisations. The data from the interventions are then deposited in a data archive which aims to accumulate research findings and help answer research questions surrounding scientific evidence. As the EEF intends to award as much as £200 million by 2025, the archive may also help us better track longer-term impact of the interventions as results from national tests become available where this is possible.

Career

Research Data Scientist, Durham University, 2015 - 2018

Research group links

Research

Research interests

As an educational data scientist with an interest in data science education, I am primarily interested in data science for causal inference, evidence generation, synthesis, and communication. In particular, I am interested in counterfactual prediction, the reproducibility of research findings, and if the results researchers reported are sensitive to analytical choices.

I collaborate with colleagues from multiple disciplines and institutions in order to solve some methodological challenges associated with social and educational interventions, for instance, the unintended consequences of randomisation in educational interventions as a result of pupils being randomly allocated to a treatment arm that might be sub-optimal, if not harmful, to them.

To achieve the above goals, I have been working on predictive and personalised approaches to evidence, particularly, individualised treatment effect in clinical trials or Pupil Advantage Index in randomised controlled trials using both conventional regression methods and machine learning techniques.

Understanding that what we observe right in front of our eyes is often ethnographically invisible, I employ mixed methods in my research and draw inspirations from medical anthropology.

Prospective PhD candidates interested in any of the following topics are welcome to get in touch:

  • Causal Inference
  • Data Science Education
  • Digital Education
  • Educational Data Science
  • Evidence-Informed Policy
  • Individualised Treatment Effect
  • Mixed Methods Research
  • Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT)

Research grants

  • 2019 Exeter University
    SSIS strategic discretionary research fund to estimate individualised treatment effect for randomised controlled trials using conventional regression models and machine learning algorithms. (£3,500)
  • 2019 Exeter University
    With Katherin Barg and Lauren Stentiford: A scoping project to automatically extract data from recorded lectures at the University of Exeter. (£2,660)
  • 2019 HEFCE
    Data Science Education. (£30,000)
  • 2019 Exeter University
    Data and Science with R. (£2,000)
  • 2019 Exeter University
    With Alexandra Allan, Karen Knapp, Susan McAnulla, and Matthew Newcombe: Education Incubator Project on flexible blended learning for mature students in the Graduate School of Education and Exeter Medical School. (£9,638)
  • 2019 National Institute for Health Research
    With Obioha Ukoumunne and Michael Nunns from the Medical School: Cluster randomised trials and child psychiatric epidemiology studentship for three years at UK/EU level. (£58,227)

Links


Publications

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


Xiao Z (2019). "You are too out!": a mixed methods study of the ways in which digital divides articulate status and power in China. Information Development Abstract.  Full text.
Xiao Z (2019). Mobile phones as life and thought companions. Research Papers in Education Abstract.  Full text.
Xiao Z (2019). Of young people and Internet cafés.  Abstract.  Author URL.
Xiao Z, Higgins S, Kasim A (2018). Impact Visualisation in Educational Interventions.  Abstract.  Author URL.
Xiao Z, Villanueva A, Higgins S (2018). The Case Against Perfection in the Mean.  Abstract.  Author URL.
Xiao Z, Higgins S (2018). The power of noise and the art of prediction. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 87, 36-46. Author URL.

Publications by category


Journal articles

Xiao Z (2019). "You are too out!": a mixed methods study of the ways in which digital divides articulate status and power in China. Information Development Abstract.  Full text.
Xiao Z (2019). Mobile phones as life and thought companions. Research Papers in Education Abstract.  Full text.
Xiao Z, Higgins S (2018). The power of noise and the art of prediction. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 87, 36-46. Author URL.
Xiao Z, Higgins S, Kasim A (2017). An Empirical Unraveling of Lord's Paradox. The Journal of Experimental Education, 87(1), 17-32. Full text.
Xiao Z, Kasim A, Higgins S (2016). Same difference? Understanding variation in the estimation of effect sizes from educational trials. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 77, 1-14. Author URL.

Chapters

Xiao Z, Higgins S (2014). When English Meets Chinese in Tibetan Schools: Towards an Understanding of Multilingual Education in Tibet. In Feng A, Adamson B (Eds.) Trilingualism in Education in China: Models and Challenges, Dordrecht: Springer, 117-140.  Abstract.

Reports

Hutton C, Lukes S, Abdulkader MS, Choudhury R, Gulaid A, Sadia S, Xiao Z, Zere A (2015). Trusting the dice: immigration advice in Tower Hamlets., Toynbee Hall. Author URL.
Higgins S, Xiao Z, Katsipataki M (2012). The impact of digital technology on learning: a summary for the Education Endowment Foundation., Education Endowment Foundation. Author URL.

Publications by year


2019

Xiao Z (2019). "You are too out!": a mixed methods study of the ways in which digital divides articulate status and power in China. Information Development Abstract.  Full text.
Xiao Z (2019). Mobile phones as life and thought companions. Research Papers in Education Abstract.  Full text.
Xiao Z (2019). Of young people and Internet cafés.  Abstract.  Author URL.

2018

Xiao Z, Higgins S, Kasim A (2018). Impact Visualisation in Educational Interventions.  Abstract.  Author URL.
Xiao Z, Villanueva A, Higgins S (2018). The Case Against Perfection in the Mean.  Abstract.  Author URL.
Xiao Z, Higgins S (2018). The power of noise and the art of prediction. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 87, 36-46. Author URL.

2017

Xiao Z, Higgins S, Kasim A (2017). An Empirical Unraveling of Lord's Paradox. The Journal of Experimental Education, 87(1), 17-32. Full text.
Adetayo K, Xiao Z, Higgins S, De Troyer E (2017). eefAnalytics: Analysing Education Trials.  Author URL.

2016

Xiao Z, Kasim A, Higgins S (2016). Same difference? Understanding variation in the estimation of effect sizes from educational trials. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 77, 1-14. Author URL.

2015

Hutton C, Lukes S, Abdulkader MS, Choudhury R, Gulaid A, Sadia S, Xiao Z, Zere A (2015). Trusting the dice: immigration advice in Tower Hamlets., Toynbee Hall. Author URL.

2014

Xiao Z, Higgins S (2014). When English Meets Chinese in Tibetan Schools: Towards an Understanding of Multilingual Education in Tibet. In Feng A, Adamson B (Eds.) Trilingualism in Education in China: Models and Challenges, Dordrecht: Springer, 117-140.  Abstract.

2012

Higgins S, Xiao Z, Katsipataki M (2012). The impact of digital technology on learning: a summary for the Education Endowment Foundation., Education Endowment Foundation. Author URL.

Refresh publications

Teaching

I contribute to teaching and supervision of the following modules:

2018 - 2019:

(EFPM308) Preparing for Educational Research and Dissertation.

(ERPM005) Designing and Communicating Research.

(SSI2001) Learning from Work Experience (Undergraduate).

(EFPM329a) Preparing for TESOL Enquiry and Dissertation.

(ERPM100) MSc Programme.

Data and Science with R.

 

2019 - 2020:

(EFPM005Z1 Class A) Preparing for Educational Enquiry.

(EFPM308) Preparing for Educational Research and Dissertation.

Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Amal Alammar
  • Abdallah Alharbi
  • Thana Aljumaah
  • Angela Short
  • Julio Cesar Torres Rocha
  • Yiwen Wang

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