More time needed for multiplicative reasoning trial?

The Department for Education has published a new report describing a randomised controlled trial of a pilot of the Multiplicative Reasoning Project (MRP). MRP focuses on developing teachers’ understanding and capacity to teach topics that involve multiplicative reasoning to Key Stage 3 (KS3) pupils.

The pilot was delivered by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM). Approximately 60 teachers in 30 schools engaged in three regional professional development networks led by professional development leaders and supported by university researchers. At school level, the programme was implemented by two core teachers in each school. Approximately 36-54 hours’ worth of high quality research-informed curriculum materials were also created.

The trial ran between October 2013 and June 2014 and involved 8,777 pupils clustered into 418 KS3 mathematics classes. Approximately half the schools, teachers, and pupils participated in the intervention and half formed a control group.

The authors found that the programme did not have any statistically significant impacts on general mathematical attainment or on items on the tests specifically associated with multiplicative reasoning, but suggest that the lack of impact could be due to the timescale of the project. There were a number of positives: The programme was considered effective as a curriculum design project and pilot project for teacher professional development, it had a positive impact on pupils’ relationship with mathematics as reported by teachers in surveys and interviews, and it led to a number of positive changes in teacher beliefs and practices.

Source: Multiplicative Reasoning Professional Development Programme: Evaluation (2015), Department for Education.