School Choices: Understanding the impact of school-level decisions and policies (closed)

EEF funding has so far focused on evaluations of educational interventions or programmes. This funding has aimed to identify and test promising interventions at scale. This has usually involved recruiting schools who have not previously experienced an intervention to participate in a randomised experiment.  

There are important practices and approaches which are difficult to evaluate using this approach. School leaders make many decisions about their provision without input from an externally-delivered, testable intervention. For example, schools might themselves decide to set by prior attainment but no widespread, testable “setting intervention” exists. Moreover, schools are often resistant to making some decisions, like whether they use setting, in response to random allocation to an experimental group. These decisions often relate to whole-school decisions and policies.   

To address these challenges the EEF has started to fund studies that look at how the different choices schools make lead to different outcomes. These studies have examined the natural variation in the system and used quasi-experimental designs to estimate the impact of different approaches. They have been funded when research questions are relevant to schools and experimental impact evaluations have not been feasible. Current EEF studies of this type include:  

The “Researching School Choices” funding stream will enable more studies of this type. The findings from these studies will inform the EEF’s messages to schools and policy makers, and the design of testable interventions in the future. In this funding stream, we seek proposals from research teams who can conduct the studies themselves. We will appoint a steering group to the project to provide independent oversight and mitigate potential conflicts of interest. 

How to apply

Deadline: Wednesday 10 July 2019

Please apply using our online application system. For more information, consult the application guidance notes below or get in touch via

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  1. Updated: 26th June, 2019