MathsFlip is an online ‘flipped learning’ programme in which pupils learn core content online, outside of class time and then participate in activities in class to reinforce their learning. The aim is to improve attainment by allowing pupils to be better prepared for lessons, and teachers to have more information about their pupils and more classroom time to devote to in-depth, complex learning activities.
Pupils undertake some learning prior to lessons, freeing up class time for feedback and personalised support.
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Flipped Learning is an approach that has received widespread attention in the UK and internationally, but before this trial, there was no robust UK evidence of its effectiveness.
Pupils who were taught new maths topics using MathsFlip for one year made a small amount of additional progress in KS2 Maths, equivalent to about 1 month, compared to other pupils. Teachers were broadly positive about the approach and the way it supported their teaching. They liked having data on pupil progress before they entered the classroom, as it helped them to target resources more effectively, but some said this required extra preparation time.
Schools considering MathsFlip should explore what ongoing support will be available from the delivery team, because the technical and professional support provided during the trial was felt to be an essential part of the intervention. Schools with pupils who do not have access to the internet at home will need to provide alternative access.
The EEF has no plans for a further trial of MathsFlip, but will continue to work with the Research Schools to test promising approaches in UK schools.
Children in MathsFlip schools made the equivalent of 1 additional months’ progress in Maths on average, compared to children in comparison schools. The 3 padlock security rating means this result is moderately secure.
The impact on Maths was slightly higher for children eligible for Free School Meals than for all children in the trial. These results are less secure than the overall findings because of the smaller number of pupils.
Children in MathsFlip schools made 3 additional months’ progress in Reading and Writing on average, compared to children in the other schools. However, this result should be treated with caution. First, there is not an obvious route by which this maths intervention could improve literacy results so much more than maths results. Second, the relatively small number of schools involved increases the likelihood that we would see a result like this just by chance rather than due to the intervention itself.
The majority of teachers in the trial were very positive about the Flipped Learning approach and the technical and professional support they received from Shireland staff. The process evaluation suggests this support was necessary for successful implementation.
Some teachers experienced technical problems with the online platform, which were generally dealt with quickly by the developers. Some pupils did not have internet access at home, which led some schools to set up homework clubs providing online access.
Full project description
The MathsFlip intervention aimed to improve the attainment of pupils in Years 5 and 6. The programme, developed by Shireland Collegiate Academy, used a ‘flipped’ learning approach, in which pupils learn core content online, outside of class time and then participate in activities in class to reinforce their learning. The programme used an online learning environment, which provided teachers and pupils with resources for learning mathematics outside the classroom, allowed collaborative communication between colleagues and pupils, and provided information to teachers on pupil’s progress prior to planning and teaching a lesson. Staff from Shireland trained Year 5 teachers from 12 primary schools in the West Midlands over two days and provided some ongoing support.
The project was a randomised controlled trial. 24 schools took part: 12 schools received the intervention, and used MathsFlip to deliver lessons at the start of a new maths topic for the cohort of pupils in Year 5 in April 2014, until April 2015. 12 schools acted as the control schools where they undertook their maths lessons in the usual way. Impact was measured using pupils’ Key Stage 2 maths scores in summer 2015. The process evaluation involved collecting teachers’ and pupils’ perceptions of the programme: lesson observations, interviews with staff, focus groups and online teacher surveys. The project was funded as part of the EEF Digital Technology funding round in collaboration with the Nominet Trust.