Mathematical Reasoning

The Mathematics and Reasoning programme develops children’s understanding of the logical principles underlying mathematics and lasts for 12 weeks with children receiving one hour of instruction per week. Teachers are trained for one day and lessons are all delivered through electronic resources, including PowerPoints – which the teacher uses for whole class teaching – and online games that the children can access at school and at home.

The programme was originally developed (with the support of the ESRC-TLRP Research Programme) by Professor Terezinha Nunes and Professor Peter Bryant at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. For this effectiveness trial the developers will adopt a more scalable ‘train the trainers’ model and have partnered with the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) who will provide the infrastructure for the delivery of the intervention, including recruiting schools and training teachers. 

Why are we funding it?

The programme had been previously tested in small trials, with very intervention-aligned outcome measures, and showed large impacts on mathematical achievement. Using outcome measures that were not intervention-aligned, the EEF efficacy trial also suggested that the intervention had an impact of three additional months progress when compared with a ‘business as usual’ control group and we are now exploring this further through a larger trial. There was also a positive correlation between the number of computer games children played and the impact, suggesting that this element of the intervention was important for its success.

How are we evaluating it?

Eight Maths Hubs, working with NCETM, will each recruit 20 schools and these will be randomised to either receive the mathematical reasoning intervention or to act as a ‘business as usual’ control. The primary outcome will be a standardised measure of maths at the end of Year 2. The NCETM delivery model will also be looked at during this project, with an assessment made of its feasibility and whether important information is successfully transferred from the Oxford University developer team to the trainers and then on to teachers.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in spring 2018.