Education Endowment Foundation:New findings from EEF-commissioned evaluations

New findings from EEF-commissioned evaluations


Today, we’ve published three new independent evaluations, including findings from a trial of two adventure learning programmes and a whole-school approach to behaviour.

Press Release •3 minutes •

Adventure Learning

This trial aimed to find out if adventure learning – both in outdoor settings and at school could improve self-regulation, school engagement and behaviour in hard-to-reach students. In addition, longitudinal work is underway to also determine whether the longer-term aim of the trial, to improve Key Stage 4 attainment has occurred. 

Students in Year 9 took part in one of two different programmes:

  • In the Outward Bound group, students attended a five-day residential that included activities like kayaking, mountaineering, and wild camping delivered by trained instructors.

  • Students in the Commando Joe’s group participated in scenario-based missions where the level of physical challenge was less and was delivered on-site at school by a trained instructor.

Both interventions were based around the need for the students to employ teamwork, resilience, communication and listening skills and were supported by school staff.

Data was collected at three time points and the last data collected, which was the primary outcome was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the findings have been given a very low security rating so should be treated with caution. 

The independent evaluators from Sheffield Hallam University found that students made no overall improvements in their self-regulation skills over a year after the intervention, but that students in both groups showed improvements in their behaviour over a year after the intervention, compared to a similar group of students who didn’t take part in one of the programmes. The effects were slightly larger for the group that took part in the Commando Joe’s programme. In addition, students showed improvements in school engagement and self-regulation immediately after the programme had ended. 

Find out more about the findings here.

INCLUSIVE (Learning Together)

This trial tested a whole-school programme that used a restorative practice approach to reduce bullying and aggression and promote health among secondary school pupils (aged 11 – 16).

The programme included two and a half hours of training for all school staff, an additional three days of training for five to 10 members of staff, as well as socio-emotional skills curriculum materials.

The independent evaluators from the Manchester Institute of Education at Manchester University identified positive effects of the programme on pupils in schools that took part. They found some evidence that the programme improved GCSE maths and English results.

However, the EEF-commissioned analysis was an addition to a larger trial that focused on health outcomes, so it was not set up to measure the impact of the programme on attainment. This means the findings haven’t been assigned an EEF security rating and should be interpreted with caution.

Find out more about the findings here.

Embedding Formative Assessment Scale-Up

Also published today are the interim findings from an independent evaluation of the EEF’s scale up of the Embedding Formative Assessment programme, a professional development programme that aims to improve pupil outcomes by embedding the use of formative assessment strategies across a school.

In the programme, schools receive training, two years of ongoing support from a mentor, and detailed resource packs to run structured monthly workshops, known as Teacher Learning Communities (TLCs). It was previously trialled by the EEF with positive results. This evaluation – led by the Behavioural Insights Team – aims to better understand the processes and impact of widening access to interventions.

The interim report looks at adaptions made by the programme developers to support the scaling of the programme, as well as some of the challenges of encouraging more schools to take up the programme.

The evaluators have made several recommendations to support organisations scaling effective programmes so that more schools can benefit. These include collecting data on the schools reached and why some schools chose not to take part, as well as identifying and encouraging the implementation of factors that make the intervention successful.

Find out more about the findings here.