Four new EEF evaluation reports published

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has today published independent evaluations of four EEF-funded projects.

The first two are reports of pilot studies, testing the effectiveness of projects aiming to support early career teachers:

Early Career Support for teachers

50 primary schools and 45 secondary schools took part in pilot studies of three programmes each using a different model for supporting mentoring and the development of Early Career Teachers (ECTs).

Two of the three programmes were developed by the Ambition Institute, and the third by the Chartered College of Teaching. Though disrupted by the Covid-19 closure of schools, the pilot evaluation suggests that all three programmes show some evidence of promise. A key challenge to the feasibility of the approaches was insufficient time.

The EEF will continue to support the implementation and evaluation of the Department for Education’s Early Career Framework, which aims to support the professional development of teachers at the start of their career.

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

Mentoring for Early Career Chemistry Teachers

Piloted in 80 schools, Mentoring for Early Career Chemistry Teachers (MECCT) was developed by the Royal Society of Chemistry to improve early careers teachers’ (ECTs) retention by supporting them with their teaching.

In this project, ECTs teaching at Key Stages 3 and 4 (with between one and five years’ teaching experience) were paired with a subject-specialist mentor (with over five years’ experience).

Overall, the evaluation found that some participating ECTs felt more supported, reporting that their confidence, knowledge and pedagogical skills had increased. However, there was limited evidence to suggest the programme had improved ECTs’ ability to manage their workload or influenced their intentions to stay in teaching.

The EEF continues to be interested in approaches to supporting ECTs, and interventions that look to improve teacher retention more generally.

The full evaluation report, together with the EEF’s commentary on the findings, is available here. This project was co-funded by the EEF and Wellcome as part of our Improving Science Teaching funding round.

In addition, the EEF has published the evaluation reports of two randomised controlled trials:

Same Day Intervention

73 primary schools and 3,298 Year 5 pupils from Yorkshire and the Humber participated in an EEF trial of Same Day Intervention (SDI).

This programme, developed and delivered by a partnership between Yorkshire and the Humber Maths Hub and Outwood Institute of Education, aims to improve maths attainment for all pupils while narrowing the attainment gap between lower- and higher-attaining pupils.

The independent evaluation found that pupils in Same Day Intervention (SDI) schools made, on average, no additional months’ progress compared with those pupils following usual practice in the control group of schools. This result had a moderate-to-high security of 3 ‘padlocks’ on the EEF’s rating scale. The EEF has no plans to fund a further trial.

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

Helping Handwriting Shine

103 primary schools and 3,734 pupils in Darlington, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield took part in this trial of Helping Handwriting Shine.

This programme, developed and delivered by the University of Leeds, aims to train primary teachers and teaching assistants (TAs) to use approaches normally used by occupational therapists to improve pupils’ handwriting.

The independent evaluation found that pupils in Year 2 who experienced the universal intervention made, on average, no additional months’ progress in their overall writing ability compared with those pupils following usual practice in the control group of schools. However, children in Year 5 who experienced the targeted intervention made, on average, +2 months’ additional progress.

The results of the Year 2 universal intervention have a high security rating (4/5 ‘padlocks’ on the EEF’s rating scale), whereas the results of the Year 5 targeted intervention have a moderate-to-high security rating (3/5 ‘padlocks’).

The EEF remains interested in trialling approaches that support children’s writing skills.

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