500 schools wanted to take part in trials

60,000 pupils in 515 primary and secondary schools across England will take part in four new trials to test different teaching and learning strategies, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) announced today.

The programmes – including an intervention to promote fluent handwriting and an online assessment tool that helps maths teachers to identify and address pupil misconceptions - will be independently evaluated through large randomised controlled trials that will test their impact on academic attainment.

The four new trials are of:

  • Helping Handwriting Shine, an intervention delivered by Leeds University that trains teachers and teaching assistants to use approaches normally used by occupational therapists to improve handwriting. 5,500 pupils in 100 schools will take part in the trial of the programme that explicitly teaches children to plan, do, and then reflect on their writing. It follows evidence presented in the EEF literacy guidance that suggests that if handwriting is slow or effortful then children are less able to think about the content of their writing.
  • Realistic Maths Education, a programme that trains Key Stage 3 maths teachers to teach maths through modelling and problem solving, using an approach originally developed and used by schools in the Netherlands. 24,000 pupils in 120 schools will take part in the trial of the programme, where teachers introduce maths by encouraging pupils to model contexts that are meaningful to them and guiding them towards confident use of formal maths that they can always connect back to context. For example, through solving problems set in the context of sharing a baguette, pupils will naturally draw a bar-like model on which they can develop meaningful strategies for comparing and combining fractions.
  • Diagnostic Questions, an online assessment tool developed delivered by the Behavioural Insights Team, that helps maths teachers to identify and address pupil misconceptions.26,250 Key Stage 4 pupils in 175 schools will take part in the trial of the programme that allows teachers to set quizzes for students with ease, providing feedback so misconceptions can be quickly addressed.
  • Same Day Intervention, where pupils are given a 40 minute maths lesson, answer some questions independently and then have 15 minutes away from their teacher (attending assembly or a teaching-assistant-led activity) while the teacher marks their answers using a rapid marking code. The remaining 20 minutes of the lesson is an intervention session, where the teacher groups children together based on how they answered the questions so that they can efficiently address common misconceptions. The aim is to use the additional support to ensure that all children reach a certain level of understanding by the end of the day, preventing an achievement gap from forming. 5,400 Year 5 pupils in 120 schools will take part in this trial. 

Notes to editors

  1. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is a grant-making charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust (now part of Impetus–The Private Equity Foundation), with a £125m founding grant from the Department for Education.