Teaching assistants: ​EEF publishes updated guidance to support schools achieve greater impact

380,000 teaching assistants (TAs) are employed across the country, at an annual public cost of some £5 billion, but previous research had shown that in many schools they were not being deployed in ways that improve student outcomes. Indeed, for students from poorer backgrounds the impact of TAs was too often negative.

However, EEF trials have demonstrated that, when they are well-trained and used in structured settings with high-quality support and training, TAs can make a noticeable positive impact on pupil learning.

To support schools in achieving this, in 2015 the EEF published its first guidance report, Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants. Written by the EEF's Prof. Jonathan Sharples, together with Rob Webster and Prof. Peter Blatchford, both at the UCL Institute of Education, it made seven clear and actionable recommendations.

Since then, the EEF has added a number of resources to support the implementation of this guidance report. This new material has now been incorporated online to bring the guidance up-to-date. It can be freely read and downloaded here.

EEF Blog: Implementing cognitive science strategies in the classroom

EEF Blog: Implementing cognitive science strategies in the classroom

EEF blog: Accelerated reader – what does the research tell us?

EEF blog: Accelerated reader – what does the research tell us?

EEF publishes two new evaluation reports

EEF publishes two new evaluation reports

Guest Blog: Retrieval practice - A common good or just commonplace?

Guest Blog: Retrieval practice - A common good or just commonplace?

New episode of ‘Evidence into Action’ – ‘Teacher Feedback to Improve Pupil Learning’

New episode of ‘Evidence into Action’ – ‘Teacher Feedback to Improve Pupil Learning’

EEF Blog: Integrating evidence into mathematics teaching – Focus on feedback

EEF Blog: Integrating evidence into mathematics teaching – Focus on feedback

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

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

EEF Blog: New ‘Voices from the classroom’ - Applying Rosenshine’s principles to remote learning

EEF Blog: New ‘Voices from the classroom’ - Applying Rosenshine’s principles to remote learning

EEF Blog: New case studies - Making effective use of diagnostic assessment

EEF Blog: New case studies - Making effective use of diagnostic assessment

EEF Blog: ECF– Exploring the Evidence: Prior knowledge and Pupil Misconceptions

EEF Blog: ECF– Exploring the Evidence: Prior knowledge and Pupil Misconceptions

EEF Blog: Three keys to unlocking positive learning behaviours

Kirsten Mould explains how schools might tackle the implementation challenge of building effective learning behaviours.

EEF Blog: Three keys to unlocking positive learning behaviours

EEF Blog: ECF – Exploring the Evidence: ‘Adaptive Teaching’ and Effective Diagnostic Assessment

EEF Blog: ECF – Exploring the Evidence: ‘Adaptive Teaching’ and Effective Diagnostic Assessment

EEF publishes findings from ‘Big Lockdown-Learning Parent Survey’

EEF publishes findings from ‘Big Lockdown-Learning Parent Survey’

New EEF podcast: Developing Oral Language

New EEF podcast: Developing Oral Language

EEF Blog: Integrating evidence into mathematics teaching – Guiding problem solving

EEF Blog: Integrating evidence into mathematics teaching – Guiding problem solving

EEF Blog: Phonics - mastering the basics of reading

EEF Blog: Phonics - mastering the basics of reading

EEF Blog: Assess, adjust, adapt – what does adaptive teaching mean to you?

EEF Blog: Assess, adjust, adapt – what does adaptive teaching mean to you?

EEF publishes new research on the impact of the pandemic on Key Stage 1 pupils’ attainment

EEF publishes new research on the impact of the pandemic on Key Stage 1 pupils’ attainment

EEF Blog: New ‘Voices from the classroom’ - Delivering feedback after exam practice

EEF Blog: New ‘Voices from the classroom’ - Delivering feedback after exam practice

EEF Blog: Teaching reading - Embedding comprehension strategies

EEF Blog: Teaching reading - Embedding comprehension strategies

EEF publishes findings from systematic review of attainment measures

EEF publishes findings from systematic review of attainment measures

EEF Blog: Integrating evidence into mathematics teaching – Making use of manipulatives

EEF Blog: Integrating evidence into mathematics teaching – Making use of manipulatives

How to use the Attainment Measures Database

How to use the Attainment Measures Database

Young Children’s Achievement Test – Second Edition

Young Children’s Achievement Test – Second Edition

York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension – Secondary Set

York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension – Secondary Set

York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension – Early Years Set

York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension – Early Years Set

York Assessment of Reading for Comprehenion: Primary

York Assessment of Reading for Comprehenion: Primary

Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests – Third Edition

Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests – Third Edition

Writing Assessment Tasks

Writing Assessment Tasks

Wide Range Achievement Test – Fifth Edition

Wide Range Achievement Test – Fifth Edition

Wide Range Achievement Test – Fourth Edition

Wide Range Achievement Test – Fourth Edition

Wide Range Achievement Test – Expanded

Wide Range Achievement Test – Expanded

Word Recognition and Phonic Skills Test

Word Recognition and Phonic Skills Test

The WORD Test 3 – Elementary

The WORD Test 3 – Elementary

The WORD Test 2 – Adolescent

The WORD Test 2 – Adolescent

Woodcock-Muñoz Language Survey

Woodcock-Muñoz Language Survey

Word Identification and Spelling Test

Word Identification and Spelling Test

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fourth UK Edition

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fourth UK Edition

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Third Edition

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Third Edition

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Second UK Edition for Teachers

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Second UK Edition for Teachers

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Second UK Edition

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Second UK Edition

White Rose Maths

White Rose Maths

Collins Maths Progress Tests for White Rose (Year 1–6/P2–7)

Collins Maths Progress Tests for White Rose (Year 1–6/P2–7)

Writing Assessment Measure

Writing Assessment Measure

Test of Written Spelling – Fifth Edition

Test of Written Spelling – Fifth Edition

Tutors’ Guild Year Six Mathematics Tutor Assessment Pack

Tutors’ Guild Year Six Mathematics Tutor Assessment Pack

Tutors’ Guild Year Six English Tutor Assessment Pack

Tutors’ Guild Year Six English Tutor Assessment Pack

Tutors’ Guild Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Mathematics Tutor Assessment Pack

Tutors’ Guild Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Mathematics Tutor Assessment Pack

Tutors’ Guild Edexcel GCSE (9-1) English Language Tutor Assessment Pack

Tutors’ Guild Edexcel GCSE (9-1) English Language Tutor Assessment Pack

Tutors’ Guild AQA GCSE (9-1) Mathematics Tutor Assessment Pack

Tutors’ Guild AQA GCSE (9-1) Mathematics Tutor Assessment Pack

Tutors’ Guild AQA GCSE (9-1) English Language Tutor Assessment Pack

Tutors’ Guild AQA GCSE (9-1) English Language Tutor Assessment Pack

The Trouble with Maths

The Trouble with Maths

More Trouble with Maths

More Trouble with Maths

Test of Written Language – Fourth Edition

Test of Written Language – Fourth Edition

Test of Silent Word Reading Fluency – Second Edition

Test of Silent Word Reading Fluency – Second Edition

Test of Silent Reading Efficiency and Comprehension

Test of Silent Reading Efficiency and Comprehension

Test of Silent Contextual Reading Fluency – Second Edition

Test of Silent Contextual Reading Fluency – Second Edition

Test of Reading Comprehension – Fourth Edition

Test of Reading Comprehension – Fourth Edition

Test of Phonological Awareness – Second Edition: Plus

Test of Phonological Awareness – Second Edition: Plus

Test of Mathematical Abilities – Third Edition

Test of Mathematical Abilities – Third Edition

Test of Orthographic Competence

Test of Orthographic Competence

Test of Adolescent and Adult Language – Fourth Edition

Test of Adolescent and Adult Language – Fourth Edition

Test of Irregular Word Reading Efficiency

Test of Irregular Word Reading Efficiency

The Shanghai Maths Project – Practice Books For the English National Curriculum (Years 7–10)

The Shanghai Maths Project – Practice Books For the English National Curriculum (Years 7–10)

Test of Early Written Language – Third Edition

Test of Early Written Language – Third Edition

Test of Early Reading Ability – Fourth Edition

Test of Early Reading Ability – Fourth Edition

Test of Early Mathematics Ability – Third Edition

Test of Early Mathematics Ability – Third Edition

Single Word Spelling Test

Single Word Spelling Test

Single Word Reading Test

Single Word Reading Test

Spot the Word – Second Edition

Spot the Word – Second Edition

Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales – Fifth Edition

Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales – Fifth Edition

Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales – Fifth Edition for Early Childhood

Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales – Fifth Edition for Early Childhood

Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scales

Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scales

Social Skills Improvement System Performance Screening Guide

Social Skills Improvement System Performance Screening Guide

Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program

Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program

Snap Science – Years 1–6

Snap Science – Years 1–6

Sigma Science Assessment

Sigma Science Assessment

Shaywitz Dyslexia Screen

Shaywitz Dyslexia Screen

Symbol Digit Modalities Test

Symbol Digit Modalities Test

Scottish Heinemann Maths

Scottish Heinemann Maths

Science Knowledge Questionnaire Year 4 (Pre-test) and Year 5 (Post-test)

Science Knowledge Questionnaire Year 4 (Pre-test) and Year 5 (Post-test)

Science Assessment Series 1 and 2 – Tailored Extracts

Science Assessment Series 1 and 2 – Tailored Extracts

Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary and Middle School Students – Third Edition

Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary and Middle School Students – Third Edition

Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary and Middle School Students – Second Edition

Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary and Middle School Students – Second Edition

Reading Milestones Placement and Monitoring

Reading Milestones Placement and Monitoring

REVISE AQA AS/A Level Biology, Chemistry and Physics Exam Skills Builder with ActiveBook

REVISE AQA AS/A Level Biology, Chemistry and Physics Exam Skills Builder with ActiveBook

Revise 11+ Maths

Revise 11+ Maths

Revise 11+ English

Revise 11+ English

Real-World Writing

Real-World Writing

Real-World Vocabulary

Real-World Vocabulary

Real-World Math

Real-World Math

Reading Detectives

Reading Detectives

Rapid Reading

Rapid Reading

Rapid Automatized Naming and Rapid Alternating Stimulus Tests

Rapid Automatized Naming and Rapid Alternating Stimulus Tests

Question Bank

Question Bank

Pictorial Test of Intelligence – Second Edition

Pictorial Test of Intelligence – Second Edition

Rising Stars Progress Tests Science – Second Edition

Rising Stars Progress Tests Science – Second Edition

Rising Stars Progress Tests Reading – Second Edition

Rising Stars Progress Tests Reading – Second Edition

Test of Word Reading Efficiency – Second Edition

Test of Word Reading Efficiency – Second Edition

Rising Stars Progress Tests Mathematics – Second Edition

Rising Stars Progress Tests Mathematics – Second Edition

In addition, this week the EEF launched a new 11-week email series based on the guidance report – more than 800 people have so far signed up to receive the report in bite-sized chunks direct to their inbox. You can subscribe free here:

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