New: What do we really know about cognitive science in the classroom? EEF publishes new review of the evidence

Today the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published a new evidence review which examines the best available research on the use of cognitive science approaches in the classroom.

Cognitive science is gaining increasing influence in education, and a wide variety of existing and developing classroom practices are currently described as being rooted in cognitive science theory. Over 85% of respondents to a recent survey reported that cognitive science strategies, such as interleaving, spaced learning and retrieval practice, were central to their own approach to teaching.

This new evidence review, conducted by the University of Birmingham, aims to help schools ensure that their approach aligns with the evidence, guiding their thinking around incorporating cognitive science into their teaching and learning provision.

The findings suggest that while cognitive science approaches can have a meaningful impact on pupil learning, the evidence around how they can be applied successfully in classrooms remains limited. In particular, research into how they ought to be used in different year groups and subject areas is lacking. More information is needed to support teachers in bridging the gap between the theory that underpins cognitive science approaches and implementing them well in their daily practice.

The review is accompanied by further discussion on the evidence for popular strategies like interleaving, retrieval practice and dual coding, and what teachers should consider when implementing cognitive science approaches in classrooms. It aims to help establish a shared understanding of cognitive science approaches amongst practitioners, providing definitions of common terminology and key points for teachers to consider around specific strategies.

The findings have been drawn from a systematic review of the best available international evidence, in addition to a review of current practice. 

Access the review and accompanying discussion here.