A study published in The Curriculum Journal presents the findings of a randomised controlled trial that evaluated the efficacy of the Bug Club programme on the reading, spelling and vocabulary skills of pupils in the first two years of primary school compared to pupils in a control group.
Bug Club is a whole-school reading programme based on the
principles of guided reading and synthetic phonics. It is offered as part of,
rather than in addition to, standard literacy lessons. This study analysed data
from 1,273 pupils in Years 1 and 2 from 30 schools in the UK (15 intervention,
15 control). Pupils were tested at baseline and again at 6 months, 12 months,
and 18 months, using the InCAS reading assessment for 5- to 11-year-olds.
At the 6- and 12-month tests, pupils in the Bug Club schools showed
more progress on the standardised reading measure than pupils in control
schools (effect size = +0.18 and +0.16). For disadvantaged pupils, the picture
was mixed. After six months, there was a greater impact on reading gains in
schools with high levels of pupils eligible for free school meals than those in
control schools. After twelve months, this effect had disappeared, but pupils
eligible for pupil premium were found to have improved more on reading gains
than those in control schools.
of Bug Club: a randomised control trial of a whole school primary aged reading
programme (February 2020), The Curriculum
Journal. DOI: 10.1002/curj.29
While the impacts of feedback on pupils’ learning are well-established, it is less clear what factors influence the ways teachers provide feedback. To help rectify this, an article published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology examines how teachers’ perceptions of task difficulty and views of intelligence influence whether and how they give feedback.
The study was conducted with 169 English teachers from Chinese
primary schools attending an English summer school for enhancing teacher
skills. Teachers were given six scenarios to read, each of which described a
lesson where the teacher asked a designated pupil to complete a task. In three
of the scenarios, the pupil succeeded, while in the other three scenarios, the pupil
failed. After reading each scenario, teachers were asked to rate their
perception of task difficulty, the likelihood of giving feedback, and the
likelihood of giving both person and process forms of feedback. Moreover,
teachers completed a measure assessing their views on whether intelligence is
malleable. The results showed that:
teachers were more likely to provide feedback
following success than failure
following pupils’ failure, teachers were more
likely to provide process feedback rather than person feedback
when the tasks were perceived to be
challenging, teachers were more likely to provide feedback
teachers who believed more in the view that
intelligence was fixed reported that they would give more person and process
praise, but following failure gave more process feedback.
The authors recommend that future research could explore in detail what feedback teachers in other cultures provide and the underlying reasons, with the goal of enriching our understanding of the entire feedback mechanism in order to benefit pupils.
Source: Examining teachers’ ratings of feedback following success and failure: a study of Chinese English teachers (December 2019), British Journal of Educational Psychology, Volume 89, Issue 4
A paper published in Educational Research and Evaluation presents the findings of a one-year efficacy trial of Maths Counts – an intensive, individualised programme to support children who struggle with basic maths skills at Key Stage 2 (age 7 to 11).
The participants were 291 pupils in Years 3 to 6 from 35
primary schools in England. Pupils were randomised within school and allocated
to an intervention (Maths Counts) or control (business-as-usual) group. The
programme was delivered to intervention pupils by specially trained teaching
assistants three times per week, for 10 weeks, during curriculum time but
outside the regular classroom. The first ten minutes of each session focused on
revision of prior learning, and the next 20 minutes introduced new knowledge
The results of the trial suggest that Maths Counts is effective for pupils who struggle with basic maths skills (effect size = +0.12 for general maths skills, and +0.18 for maths attitude). However, there was no evidence that it was effective for pupils eligible for free school meals (effect size = -0.14 for general maths skills, and +0.07 for maths attitude).
of the impact of Maths Counts delivered by teaching assistants on primary
school pupils’ attainment in maths (November 2019), Educational Research and Evaluation, 25:3-4
Class-Wide Function-Related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT) is a
classroom programme designed to increase academic, social and behavioural
success for pupils. The programme emphasises group contingencies and
self-management. It teaches positive social skills, uses teacher praise and
group points for good behaviour, incorporates goal setting and provides
In order to build CW-FIT’s research base, a randomised controlled trial was carried out over four years, designed to replicate one site’s original study by adding two more research groups and to include investigators who were not the developers of the programme.
Seven elementary (primary) schools in three US states participated. Pupils were in grades K–6 (Years 1–7), 55% were of minority ethnicities, and 69% received free- or reduced-price school meals. Within each school were experimental and control classes – 83 experimental and 74 control in total. Baseline data collection included measures of pupil time on-task and teacher use of reinforcement during business-as-usual conditions for two to three weeks. At baseline, no teacher was observed using token rewards or group rewards. During the study, control group teachers received a two-hour training in general classroom management and were referred to district protocol when pupil behaviour problems occurred. Experimental group teachers implemented CW-FIT during one targeted period three to five times per week from October to March. During CW-FIT sessions, after teaching pupils the appropriate way to get attention, follow directions, and ignore inappropriate behaviour, the teacher set a timer at two to five minute intervals, awarding a point to teams with all members behaving at that moment. At the end of class, awards were given to all team members who met specific goals.
At the end
of the study, results favoured the CW-FIT group. On-task behaviour for CW-FIT pupils
increased from 55% to 80%, while the control group remained close to baseline
at 58%. Teacher classroom management behaviours increased from 52% to 86% for
the CW-FIT group, but remained at 55% for the control group. These results are
reflective of earlier studies’ findings.
Function-Related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT): student and teacher outcomes from
a multisite randomized replication trial (September 2018), The Elementary School Journal 119, no. 1
Findings from a randomised controlled trial of Tools of the Mind (Tools) suggest that the programme improves kindergarten (Year 1) pupils’ academic outcomes in reading and writing, enhances children’s joy in learning and teachers’ enjoyment of teaching, and reduces teacher burnout.
The Tools programme is a play-based preschool and
kindergarten curriculum that emphasises self-control, language and literacy
skills. The study, published in the journal PLoS One, analysed the
effectiveness of Tools on kindergarten teachers and 351 children (mean age 5.2
years at entry) with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in 18 public schools in
Canada. Schools were paired with closely matched schools and then randomised to
either the intervention group or control group. Teachers in the intervention
group received a three-day workshop on Tools before the school year began,
along with funds for resources. Control group teachers were offered the same
amount of training hours and funds for whatever training and resource materials
The results showed that pupils in the Tools group made
greater improvements than pupils in the control group on standardised tests for
reading and writing. By May, three times as many children in Tools classes than
in control classes were reading at Grade 1 (Year 2) level or better. Similarly,
three times as many children in Tools classes than in control classes were able
to write a full sentence that they composed themselves. Tools teachers also
reported that their pupils could continue to work unsupervised for two and a
half times longer than control teachers estimated for their pupils, and that
100% could get back to work right away after breaks, compared to 50% of control
The Tools programme also had a positive impact on how
teachers felt about teaching. More than three-quarters of Tools teachers, but
none of the control teachers, reported in May that they were still enthusiastic
control trial of Tools of the Mind:
Marked benefits to kindergarten children and their teachers (September 2019), PLoS One
The Education Endowment Foundation has published an evaluation of Digital Feedback in Primary Maths, a programme that aims to improve primary school teachers’ feedback to pupils.
The intervention uses a tablet application called Explain Everything, diagnostic assessments, and training on effective feedback. The app allows teachers to provide pupils with digitally recorded feedback on a tablet, rather than written feedback. Pupils have the opportunity to review their feedback and develop their work further. By improving teachers’ diagnostic and feedback skills when teaching maths in primary schools, the intervention aims to ultimately improve pupils’ outcomes in maths.
To estimate the impact of Digital Feedback on maths achievement,
the evaluation used a randomised controlled trial involving 2,564 pupils in 108
classes across 34 English primary schools. While the intervention took place in
each school, classrooms were randomly assigned to the treatment or control
group, which carried on with business-as-usual teaching.
The results of the evaluation found no evidence that pupils taking part in the programme made more progress in maths, on average (effect size = -0.04), than the control group.
feedback in primary maths (September 2019), Education