Catch Up Numeracy 2015

Catch Up Numeracy is a one-to-one intervention for primary school children who are struggling with numeracy. It consists of two 15 minute lessons per week for up to 30 weeks, usually delivered by teaching assistants (TAs). To prepare them to deliver the intervention, TAs are supplied with detailed lesson plans and receive four half-day training sessions. The intervention breaks numeracy down into ten components, assesses children’s ability on each, and targets subsequent instruction so that the tutor always addresses the exact area of weakness.

Why are we funding it?

Catch Up Numeracy had previously been tested in a matched control study with almost 250 pupils, this showed that children who received the intervention made statistically significant additional progress compared with children in both a business-as-usual and matched-time control.

The previous EEF trial showed a significant effect of an additional 3 months progress when comparing the intervention with the business-as-usual control, however the matched-time control also resulted in a similar impact. The matched time control involved pupils receiving generic one-to-one support for the same amount of time as children in the Catch Up group, there was however some evidence from the evaluation that there may have been sharing of practice between the Catch Up TAs and the matched time TAs who were within the same schools. The new evaluation is therefore randomised at the school-level to ensure that the risk of contamination is minimised and the intervention is again being compared to a matched-time control.

How are we evaluating it?

150 schools will be randomised to one of two arms: a Catch Up Numeracy group or an active control group. Schools in the active control group will provide support to children struggling in numeracy (identified through the baseline evaluation assessment) based on the advice given in the EEF TA guidance report. The active control group will be provided with a bursary to give them planning time to read and implement the advice contained within the TA guidance report. The project will look at the impact of the intervention on a standardised numeracy outcome.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in summer 2017.