New EEF grants announced, including three focusing on maths from the early years through to GCSE
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has today announced its latest four grants. Three of the projects funded, which will involve 490 schools, focus on improving maths outcomes for pupils and span the early years through to primary and secondary school.
This will bring the total number of schools, nurseries and colleges which have been involved in at least one EEF-funded project to more than 14,500 – over half of all schools in the country. These 197 projects will have reached 1.6 million children and young people, one-third of them from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The three new maths projects will assess the impact of:
- Training early years teachers to develop children’s mathematical understanding
TEEM UP is an intensive professional development programme developed by world-renowned experts in early learning and development from the University of Oxford.
In this EEF trial, Reception and Year 1 teachers in 100 schools will be coached to develop children’s mathematical understanding in developmentally-appropriate ways, including their self-regulation.
This chimes with the first recommendation of the EEF’s latest guidance report, Improving Mathematics in the Early Years and Key Stage 1, published last month which advises ‘Professional development should be used to raise the quality of practitioners’ knowledge of mathematics, of children’s mathematical development, and of effective mathematical pedagogy.’
- One-to-one, online maths tutoring from high-achieving undergraduates to support under-performing GCSE pupils
MyTutor is a one-to-one, online tutoring platform which trains undergraduate students from top universities to reinforce classwork, helping pupils to build confidence, hone their exam technique and achieve their target grades.
In this EEF trial, 100 secondary schools will be asked to identify 20-25 pupils who are engaged with school but under-performing in maths. Pupils will receive 20 hours of GCSE maths tuition across two school terms.
One-to-one tuition is an approach with good evidence – the EEF Toolkit estimates it can deliver an addition +5 months’ progress, on average – but few programmes have been rigorously tested in English schools. MyTutor has the potential to be highly scalable, particularly for geographically hard-to-reach schools, and more cost-effective for schools than in-person tuition programmes given its online model.
- Grouping pupils by prior attainment for maths lessons in both primary and secondary schools
Within-class grouping (eg, sitting high-attaining pupils together on the same table) is particularly common in England at both primary and secondary levels: around 40% of teachers in England say that they group pupils by prior attainment in almost every maths lesson.
It is a particularly important issue for low-attaining and disadvantaged pupils, who tend to be placed in lower groups within their class. The EEF Toolkit suggests that within-class attainment grouping may have positive average effects, but could also widen the disadvantage gap. However, the current evidence base is limited.
Owing to the current closures of schools, nurseries and colleges caused by the Covid-19 epidemic, the EEF has paused recruitment to all our trials of high-potential projects.
We will keep this under review with the aim of resuming our work as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.
This study – Within-class grouping in maths, part of the EEF’s School Choices funding stream – will use TIMSS international survey data linked to the National Pupil Database to provide new evidence about how within-class grouping by prior attainment in Key Stages 2 and 3 (7-14 year-olds) is linked to mathematics achievement and attitudes in England, and whether this varies by pupils’ prior attainment and other contextual factors. Additional analysis will also be conducted on Year 2 pupils (6-7 year-olds) using data from the Millennium Cohort Study to provide further evidence on grouping in Key Stage 1.
The fourth EEF-funded project announced today is a re-grant to Thinking, Talking, Doing Science, a professional development programme designed to improve science outcomes by making lessons in primary schools more focused, creative and effective. A previous EEF trial in 41 schools found it boosted pupils' progress in science by +3 months. Recruitment for this new, large-scale trial will begin in the next school year.
Prof. Becky Francis, EEF chief executive, comments:
It is a remarkable achievement that over 14,500 schools, nurseries and colleges have chosen to take part in an EEF-funded project in just nine years. This is a programme of classroom-based research – a collective endeavour of teachers, practitioners and researchers – that is unparalleled anywhere in the world.
These three projects exemplify the EEF’s approach to raising attainment to close the disadvantage gap.
Their focus is maths, where good grades are critical for progressing into the world of work and further study. They span the early years into primary school and right through to GCSE, recognising the need to start early and to continue offering consistently excellent maths teaching to all students.
And they focus on the areas where schools can make most difference: improving the quality of teaching in the classroom, targeting individual support for pupils needing additional catch up, and providing teachers and school leaders with evidence that can help them make well-informed choices about how best to group students in their classrooms.