This paper, written by Robert Slavin and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Liege and the Institute for Effective Education, reviews research on the outcomes of writing interventions for pupils in Years 3 to 13. Studies had to meet rigorous standards of research including use of randomised or well-matched control groups; measures independent of the programme developers, researchers and teachers; and adequate sample size and duration. Fourteen studies of 12 programmes met the criteria and programmes were divided into three categories: writing process models, cooperative learning writing programmes, and programmes integrating reading and writing.
Pupil achievement effects on writing were positive in all categories, with an effect size of +0.18 across all 14 studies. Similar outcomes were found for writing programmes that focused on the writing process (effect size = +0.17), those using cooperative learning (effect size = +0.16), and those focusing on interactions between reading and writing (effect size = +0.19).
Source: A quantitative synthesis of research on writing approaches in Years 3 to 13 (July 2019), Education Endowment Foundation
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published
findings from a large trial of an approach to “growth mindsets”, which aims to
encourage in pupils the belief that intelligence can be developed through
effort and dedication.
A total of 5,018 pupils from 101 schools in the UK took part
in the trial of Changing Mindsets, a programme designed to improve
maths and literacy grades by teaching Year 6 pupils that their brain potential
is not a fixed entity but can grow and change through effort exerted.
Teachers received professional development training on
approaches to developing a growth mindset, together with lesson plans,
interactive resources and practical classroom tips, before then delivering
sessions to pupils over eight weeks. Teachers were encouraged to embed aspects
of the “growth mindsets” approach throughout their teaching – for example, when
giving feedback outside the sessions.
The independent evaluation, by a team from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR), found no evidence that the pupils who took part in the programme made any additional progress in literacy or numeracy – as measured by standardised tests in reading, grammar, punctuation and spelling, and maths – compared to pupils in the control group.
The EEF commentary advises that teachers should be cautious
about using the approach as a standalone method of improving pupil achievement.
A research briefing published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) looks at what progress has been made in embedding evidence-informed practice within teaching in England.
As part of
the brief, researchers from the National Foundation for Educational Research
(NFER) summarised findings from a nationally representative survey of 1,670
schools and teachers. The survey was conducted between September and November
2017, and investigated teachers’ research use. The results of the survey
Research evidence continues to play
a relatively small role in influencing teachers’ decision-making. Eighty-four percent of those
surveyed said that their continuing professional development was based on
information other than academic research.
Most teachers report that their
schools offer supporting environments, which enablesevidence-informed practice to flourish. Seventy-three percent
‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that their school provided a positive culture for
professional development and evidence use.
Teachers report generally positive attitudes towards research evidence, despite the fact that research
evidence had only a small influence on their decision-making.
responses varied by school phase, by type of respondent, and by type of schools.
Those who were more likely to report that their schools had a positive research
culture, and that they used research to inform their selection of teaching
Senior leaders (as opposed to classroom teachers).
Primary school teachers (rather than secondary school teachers).
Schools with the lowest 25 percent of achievement (versus highest 25 percent achievement).
Source: Teachers’ engagement with
research: what do we know? A research briefing (May 2019), Education Endowment Foundation
The Education Endowment Foundation has published an evaluation of Research Leads Improving Students’ Education (RISE). The programme, which was developed and delivered by Huntington School in York, aimed to improve the maths and English achievement of pupils in secondary school using a research-informed school improvement model.
Forty schools took part in the randomised controlled trial and were randomly allocated to either take part in RISE or to a control group which continued with business as usual. Schools participating in RISE appointed a senior teacher as a Research Lead who was responsible for promoting and supporting the use of research throughout the school. Support for Research Leads included an initial eight professional development sessions held over eight months, occasional follow-up meetings over two academic years, a customised email newsletter, a website with resources, a peer network, and school visits by the RISE team. The RISE team also provided a workshop for headteachers and annual workshops for English and maths subject leads.
The evaluation examined the impact on pupils in two cohorts:
in the first cohort (A) the school was only exposed to one year of RISE, while
in the second cohort (B) the school experienced two years of the intervention. For
both the one-year and two-year cohorts, children in RISE schools made a small
amount of additional progress in maths (effect size = +0.09 for cohort A and
+0.04 for cohort B) and English (effect size = +0.05 for cohort A and +0.03 for
cohort B) compared to children in the control-group
schools. However, the differences were small and not significant, so the
evaluation concludes that there is no evidence that participating in one or two
years of the RISE programme has a positive impact on pupil achievement.
In addition, the evaluation highlights the importance of
schools’ ability and motivation to make use of the Research Lead in shaping
school improvement decisions and processes. For example, it suggests that
implementation was stronger when headteachers gave clear and visible support
for the project and Research Leads had additional dedicated time to undertake
Source: The RISE
project: Evidence-informed school improvement (May 2019), Education Endowment Foundation
An evaluation of a pilot of Teensleep, a sleep education programme that aims to improve outcomes for pupils by improving the quality of their sleep, found no evidence that the programme led to improvements in pupils’ sleep.
The Teensleep programme
trains teachers to promote good ‘sleep hygiene’ as part of pupils’ Personal,
Social and Health Education (PSHE) lessons. Teachers deliver a series of 10
half-hour lessons highlighting the importance of sleep for effective learning,
as well as providing practical advice for better sleep, such as avoiding
caffeine in the evening.
Ten UK secondary schools took part in the pilot funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Wellcome Trust. All Year 10 pupils received the intervention as delivered by their teachers and completed a sleep quiz and sleep survey pre- and post-intervention. Parents and pupils were informed about the pilot study and parents could opt out of schools sharing pupils’ data with the research team, but not out of pupil participation in the intervention.
Overall, the evaluation
found there was no evidence that Teensleep improved pupils’ sleep as measured
using a wrist-worn activity monitor before and after the intervention. However,
the evaluation did find some evidence of improvements to sleep-related behaviour
as reported by pupils, such as napping less during the daytime.
Source: Teensleep: Pilot report and executive summary (February
2019) Education Endowment Foundation
Helping pupils to understand the logical principles underlying maths may improve their mathematical achievement, according to the findings of a randomised controlled trial published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).
Mathematical Reasoning lessons focus on developing pupils’ understanding of the logic principles underlying maths, and cover principles such as place value and the inverse relation between addition and subtraction. One hundred and sixty English primary schools took part in the trial, and were randomly allocated to receive either Mathematical Reasoning or to be in the control group. The control group was given the opportunity to take part in the programme the following year. Teachers in the intervention schools delivered the programme to Year 2 pupils over 12 to 15 weeks as part of their usual maths lessons. Learning was supported by online games, which could be used by pupils at school and at home.
The independent evaluation by a team from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) found a small but statistically significant effect size of +0.08 on maths achievement for pupils who took part in the programme, compared to other pupils. It had the same impact for pupils eligible for free school meals. They also found some evidence that the programme had a positive impact on mathematical reasoning.