The EEF tested 1stclass@number, a programme delivered by teaching assistants which provides intensive support for pupils struggling with maths. We funded this project because it has been used by over 4,000 schools and a similar intervention, Numbers Count, has strong evidence of impact.
Our evaluation found that pupils who received 1stclass@number made, on average, two additional months’ progress in maths. This result has a high security rating. However, there was no evidence that this progress translated into an impact on KS1 maths outcomes. This could be because the simple five point scale available for the KS1 measure is less sensitive to change than the headline maths measure used in the trial, or because the KS1 measure tests a broader range of skills than those taught in 1stClass@Number, and so the impact is diluted
The headline finding adds to the growing evidence base supporting the use of teaching assistants to deliver high-quality, structured interventions to pupils who are falling behind. The EEF’s guidance report, Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants, provides clear and actionable guidance on how to put this evidence into practice. This finding is promising enough that the EEF and the Every Child Counts team will discuss the potential for further development, testing and scaling up of the intervention.
- Pupils who received 1stClass@Number made two months’ additional progress in maths, on average, compared to pupils in the control group. This result has a high security rating.
- The primary result was not statistically significant. This means that, in this trial, even if the intervention had not had an impact, the probability that just by chance we would have observed an effect size as large as the one found is greater than 5%
- Pupils who received 1stClass@Number did not perform better in the end-of-KS1 maths test, on average, than pupils in the control group. This could be because the headline maths measure used in the trial was more sensitive than the simple five point scale available for the end-of-KS1 maths test, or because it tests specifically those skills taught in 1stClass@Number.
- Among pupils eligible for free schools meals, those who received the intervention did not make any additional progress in maths compared to pupils in the control group. This result has lower security than the overall result because of the smaller number of pupils.
- The intervention was implemented as intended by the developer: most TAs and Link Teachers attended most training sessions, and most of the TAs observed during the evaluation followed the written lesson plans closely.