Review of evidence on behaviour: call for proposals (closed)

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is commissioning a review of the best available evidence about classroom management strategies and whole-school approaches to behaviour. We are seeking proposals from research teams able to complete a first draft by February 2019, for publication April 2019.

The review will be used to inform the creation of a teacher-facing guidance report on behaviour in schools. 

Background

The review will be used by the EEF team to inform the creation of two resources for a non-technical audience:

  • An EEF guidance report aimed at teachers and school leaders
  • application guidance for EEF grant funding

Guidance reports

EEF guidance reports summarise the best available research evidence on an aspect of teaching and present actionable recommendations for practice. Guidance reports are based on rigorous reviews of research evidence and are produced in collaboration with practitioners. The EEF has published a number of guidance reports, available on our website at:

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The outline of the process for producing EEF guidance reports is as follows.

  1. The EEF appoints a panel of practitioners, academics, and other stakeholders to support the creation of the guidance report.
  2. The EEF commissions a review of the research evidence related to the focus of the guidance report.
  3. The completed review is then presented to the EEF panel. The panel then advises the EEF on the drafting of evidence-based recommendations for practice. The evidence reviewer will be expected to provide ongoing support during the process of writing recommendations.

The behaviour guidance report will cover classroom management strategies teachers can employ, and approaches to whole-school culture which school leaders can implement; it will cover both proactive policies to support students to behave well, and reactive strategies for problem behaviour. It will consider how behaviour policies and practices can include students with special educational needs. Depending on the outcome of the evidence review, the guidance on behaviour could be produced as a series rather than a single report. The first draft of findings should be ready in February 2019, and the final review published alongside a behaviour guidance report in April.

Grant funding

The review will inform application guidance to potential applicants for EEF funding. It will also be used by the EEF team to inform the selection of programmes for funding. Our focus is on supporting projects that show promising evidence of having a measurable impact on attainment or a directly related outcome. We are interested in testing projects’ effectiveness through robust independent evaluations, where appropriate as randomised controlled trials.

Review focus and methods

We would like the review to be completed using an approach that allows it to be easily updated in the future. EEF guidance reports are “live” documents that will be updated as the evidence base evolves. The review will focus on three types of research evidence:

  • Models and frameworks of why pupils misbehave
  • Evidence about classroom-based approaches to behaviour
  • Evidence about school-wide approaches to behaviour

1. Summarise existing models and frameworks explaining pupil misbehaviour

We would like the review to provide a brief overview of the evidence on why pupils misbehave in schools. This section should set out a model of pupil behaviour that is useful and applicable for practitioners and how it could be used to identify why a pupil might be misbehaving. This aspect of the review will be used to provide a theoretical background to frame the guidance report, and could inform recommendations regarding teacher understanding of behaviour.

2. Review the evidence regarding classroom-based approaches to behaviour

We would like the review to briefly summarise the literature on classroom management approaches. This section should include approaches that focus on teacher behaviour as well as those that focus on pupil behaviour, and universal approaches as well as those targeting individual students whose behaviour is problematic. The review should set out principals underlying programmes that appear most promising, including psychological theories important to the mechanisms involved.

Questions we would like to answer include:

  • What theories should teachers understand when considering which classroom management strategies to adopt?
  • How can teachers best support students exhibiting challenging behaviours?
  • How can classroom policies support a productive learning environment for all students?

3. Review the evidence regarding school-wide approaches to behaviour

We would like the review to synthesize the research literature on effective leadership practice surrounding behaviour. We would like the review to consider different approaches taken in primary and secondary schools aimed at supporting a school culture that supports good behaviour throughout the school: both approaches that create an environment conducive to students behaving well, and practices responding to when students exhibit challenging behaviours. The review should assess the strength of existing studies. We are most interested in robust, causal evidence of impact using experimental and quasi-experimental designs, including studies carried out both within the UK and internationally.

The reviews that underpin the Teaching and Learning Toolkit and Early Years Toolkit should provide a useful starting point for this work. We would also expect the reviewer to make use of recently conducted reviews by the What Works Clearinghouse.

This section of the review should also highlight evidence that suggests certain practices are ineffective, and gaps in the evidence base where more research is needed.

Timing

The deadline for proposals is Monday 3rd September 2018. We are looking to appoint a team to begin working as soon as possible and expect the work to be delivered by the beginning of February 2019.

Appointment process

If you would like to be considered to undertake the review, please send a brief outline describing your proposed approach. Please include an overview of your relevant skills and experience, and an estimated budget. Proposals should be no more than 1,500 words, excluding references.

Similar reviews funded by the EEF can be found on the evidence reviews section of the EEF website.

We recognise that different aspects of this review may require different expertise, so are open to joint applications from multiple teams. We are open to applications from teams based outside of the UK.

We will finalise the specification with the successful team and the final report will be peer reviewed. Report length and budget are open for discussion at this stage.

If you have any questions, please contact Igraine Rhodes: igraine.rhodes@eefoundation.org.uk

Please send your proposal to: igraine.rhodes@eefoundation.org.uk by Monday 3rd September 2018.

Please note the funds for this evaluation / research are from the EEF’s fundraising and investment income (i.e. a non-Government source) and that this research qualifies for HEFCE Charity Support Fund criteria.