EEF Blog: Promising projects - supporting school leaders to identify well-evidenced programmes
Jonathan Kay on the new Promising Projects section of the website.
We are now five years into the lifetime of the EEF, and have made grants to 127 projects aiming to raise the attainment of disadvantaged children and young people. To date, we have published 60 independent evaluation reports. Each of these aims to rigorously test the impact of the approach and then to convey the messages from the evaluation in a way that is readily accessible to school leaders. With the increasing number of reports of EEF-funded projects, we face a challenge: school leaders are busy and will rarely have the time or inclination to sort through and read through every publication on our website.
With this in mind, we have recently launched a new way of filtering our growing list of completed projects. The ‘Promising Projects’ section of our website highlights projects which have had positive initial results and subsequently received scale-up grants from the EEF in order that they have a sustainable and successful model for increasing delivery to schools, nurseries and colleges.
These ‘Promising Projects’ are presented in a similar style to our Teaching and Learning Toolkit, allowing school leaders to make a comparison between the security of the trial (represented by padlocks), the cost of the intervention, and the additional months’ progress found in the EEF-funded trial. We hope this will allow school leaders to make informed decisions, taking into account not only the impact we found when the programmes were evaluated, but also cost-effectiveness and the quality of evidence supporting the approach.
It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive. There are projects that have had promising results, but which have not yet received scale-up grants. These will be added in time. The list is also limited to projects that the EEF has evaluated.
Of course, it is not only these promising results that can be valuable for school decision making: stopping an ineffective programme (especially one that costs considerable time and money) can be as useful as knowing when to start a well-evidenced programme. Nevertheless, we hope that this new section can be a useful starting point for school leaders looking to identify programmes which have been robustly and independently evaluated by the EEF.
Not every ‘Promising Project’ will work in every school: the results from EEF-funded trials will have depended in part on individual school context. For this reason, we always try and combine results from different trials through resources such as our Teaching and Learning Toolkit and its Early Years companion, and when making recommendations in EEF guidance reports such as Making the Best Use of Teaching Assistants. With these ‘Promising Projects’, however, our initial testing has given us enough confidence to invest in them further through scale-up grants. It, therefore, seems right for us to communicate that to schools to help with their own spending decisions.