EEF publishes two new evaluation reports

Today, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published independent evaluations of two projects, bringing the total number of complete EEF-funded projects to date to 146.

The reports provide the findings from a randomised controlled trial (RCT), as well as an implementation and process evaluation.

Triple P

This programme aimed to support parents in improving their reception child’s (3 – 4 year olds) social, emotional and behavioural well-being through participation within a targeted intervention.

Led by Triple P UK, the programme was delivered in 68 early years settings in the North of England. Across eight weeks, participating families attended small group sessions in which they took part in a range of exercises to help them learn about the causes of child behaviour problems, setting specific goals, and using strategies to promote child development.

The evaluation, undertaken by RAND, was unfortunately unable to collect the planned assessments of the impact on children’s language development due to Covid-related disruption. It focussed instead on the perceived impacts of the programme on children’s language and behaviour.

The findings suggest that nursery staff and parents noticed a reduction in problem behaviours and a modest improvement in children’s language ability as a result of participation in the programme.

The full evaluation report, together with the EEF’s commentary on the findings, is available here.

Accelerated Reader (AR)

The RCT of this programme, led by NFER and Renaissance Learning, tested the impact of a widely used digital whole-class reading management and monitoring programme that aims to foster independent reading among primary and secondary pupils.

A previous EEF-funded efficacy trial of AR found that pupils who received the programme made three months of additional progress in reading comprehension. The study was conducted in 4 secondary schools with 349 Year 7 pupils who had achieved below age-expected levels in reading at the end of Key Stage 2. Our second trial of AR assessed the impact of the programme on year 5 (6,116 pupils) and year 4 pupils (6,311) in 181 primary schools – the largest randomised controlled trial of AR to date.

The evaluation, undertaken by RAND and the University of Cambridge, found that children who started AR in Year 5 and Year 4, on average, made no additional progress in reading compared to children in the comparison schools. These results have a very high security rating: 5 out of 5 on the EEF padlock scale.

Pupils in many ‘business-as-usual’ comparison schools in this trial were found to be experiencing dedicated reading time comparable to intervention schools. This may mean that there was not enough ‘unique’ activity in AR schools to produce measurable differences compared to comparison schools.

The full updated evaluation report, together with the EEF’s commentary on the findings, is available here.