EEF recruiting schools for 5 groundbreaking new trials

The Education Endowment Foundation has today announced 5 ground-breaking new trials and is looking for 400 schools to take part and help find the best ways to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

One of the new trials will test if addressing pupils’ misconceptions about algebra and fractions can have a positive effect on overall maths results. 110 schools will take part in the Education Endowment Foundation trial ofIncreasing Competence and Confidence in Algebra and Multiplicative Structures (ICCAMS).

Delivered by Nottingham University, ICCAMS aims to overcome Years 7 and 8 pupils’ often negative attitudes to maths through understanding of two notoriously tricky areas: algebra and fractions. The trial is rooted in formative assessment, where teachers use evidence on pupils’ prior attainment to identify their individual errors and problems. ICCAMS provides teachers with 40 research-informed lessons to help them give feedback in a way that boosts their students’ confidence and competence in solving maths problems.

The value of effective teaching is well recognised - Sutton Trust research shows that good teachers can be worth as much as an extra 1.5 years learning for disadvantaged pupils – yet little is known about the best teaching methods to maximise their impact on pupil attainment.

Two more trials will test strategies for improving the impact of teachers:

  • Evidence for the Frontline helps bridge the gap between academic research and its practical use in the classroom. Teachers and school leaders can submit a question online or call a helpline and speak to a trained ‘broker’ who will use their expertise to support them in making evidence-based decisions in their schools. They’ll help explain their query and direct them to either web-based resources, researchers engaged in the field or practitioners who have already addressed their question.
  • Embedding Formative Assessment is a two-year professional development programme for teachers that supports schools to deliver 18 monthly internal workshops and develop teacher learning communities for small groups of staff from across all subjects. Developed by Professor Dylan Wiliam in partnership with SSAT, the project takes a whole-school approach to embed formative assessment through workshops, research and ongoing collaboration.

Another new trial will test the attainment benefits of the respected Families and Schools Together (FAST) parental engagement programme, to be run in 120 schools by Save the Children in partnership with Middlesex University. Research summarised in the EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit shows that effective parental engagement can boost learning for primary school children by as much as three months in a year.

FAST is one of the most high-profile parental engagement programmes. The programme, delivered in more than 20 countries, is designed to improve parents’ confidence and parenting skills through eight weekly sessions which they attend with their child. The EEF trial will provide the first robust evidence as to its effect on learning in English schools.

Finally, Maths Counts, delivered by the Mead Community Primary School, offers a creative, personalised and digital intervention for vulnerable mathematicians at Key Stage Two. The school-led research programme utilises Teaching Assistants as ‘Learning Partners’ in combination with a ‘Digital Maths Wheel’ that allows pupils to track their progress online. The initiative aims to boost learning by improving children’s understanding of numbers and instilling positive learning attitudes towards maths.

The results of all five trials will add to the EEF’s growing body of evidence and be used to inform the Teaching and Learning Toolkit, which more than half of all school leaders already use to decide how best to spend their pupil premium funding for disadvantaged pupils.

Dr Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation said today:

“We know that effective teaching and parental engagement have a positive impact on educational achievement, particularly for the most disadvantaged children. In our drive to raise standards, it’s so important that we find out the best methods to do this. The trials we’ve announced today will add to a growing body of evidence and a much-valued resource that school leaders can draw on to improve the educational achievement of our most disadvantaged pupils.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. View full project details here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects/projects-a-z/new-projects-2015/

2.The Education Endowment Foundation is a charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust, with a Department for Education grant of £125m. It is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £57 million to 99 projects working with over 600,000 pupils in over 4,800 schools across England.

3.The five grants have been awarded to:

  • University of Nottingham to deliver the Increasing Competence and Confidence in Algebra and Multiplicative Structures (ICCAMS)trial, led by CEM, in 120 secondary schools
  • Sandringham School to pilot Evidence for the Frontline in 30 schools, working with the Institute for Effective Education and Coalition for Evidence-Based Education
  • SSAT to run a trial of Embedding Formative Assessment involving 120 secondary schools
  • Save the Children to run Families and Schools Together in 120 primary schools
  • The Mead Community Primary School to test Maths Counts in 30 primary schools.