Impact of Research Learning Communities on pupil achievement in reading

An evaluation led by Jo Rose at the University of Bristol and published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) looks at the impact of Research Learning Communities (RLC) on pupil achievement in reading at Key Stage 2 and teachers’ awareness, understanding, and use of research.

As part of a randomised controlled trial involving 199 schools, 60 primary schools were allocated to the treatment condition for the RLC intervention delivered by a team of academics from the Institute of Education at University College London. Two teachers from each of the schools involved in the trial were designated “Evidence Champions”. They attended four RLC workshops in which they discussed research with academic experts and colleagues from other schools. The Evidence Champions were then required to develop school improvement strategies using their learnings from the workshops, and to support other teachers in their schools to engage with research.

While the results of the evaluation showed some evidence that being in an RLC increased teachers’ engagement with research, there appeared to be no evidence that the RLC intervention led to improvements in reading outcomes for 10- and 11-year-olds, compared with the control group (effect size =+0.02). However, there was evidence that there may be some relationship between how engaged teachers are with research and the achievement of their students, regardless of any involvement in the RLC.

Source: Research Learning Communities (December 2017), Education Endowment Foundation

One thought on “Impact of Research Learning Communities on pupil achievement in reading”

  1. How are people still basing arguments on the now defunct “effect size=educational effectiveness” argument? Harry Fletcher-Wood’s recent blog ( summarised the paper by Simpson ( which shows very categorically that effect size does not measure educational effectiveness – it is a measure of the clarity of the study. At best, the difference between the groups in this study (if there was one) was not clear given the groups, intervention, control and measure. Given the distance between the intervention and measure, this is not surprising – so much noise would be introduced between a particular RLC intervention and pupil’s achievement. One cannot compare this to any other effect size as if comparing educational effectiveness.

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