Let’s Think Secondary Science (LTSS) aims to develop students’ scientific reasoning by teaching them scientific principles such as categorisation, probability, and experimentation. LTSS challenges students’ thinking, develops their metacognitive skills, and encourages cooperative learning. Let’s Think Forum (a registered charity led by a group of academics, teachers, and consultants) created LTSS by adapting a programme called Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education (CASE). Let’s Think Forum’s adaptations to CASE included reducing the number of lessons from 30 to 19, reducing the number of scientific principles that are taught, rewriting lesson plans, and providing additional resources like PowerPoint slides and video tutorials. In this trial, Let’s Think Forum provided one day of training and three support sessions per year to the science teachers who would be teaching LTSS. These teachers then delivered the lessons to a cohort of Year 7 students instead of their usual science lessons. LTSS was delivered over two years, so this cohort of pupils continued to receive the programme in Year 8.
LTSS was evaluated using a randomised controlled trial with over 8000 students in 53 schools. Schools were randomly allocated to deliver either the programme or their ‘business as usual’ science teaching. It should be considered an effectiveness trial, as it aimed to test a scalable intervention under realistic conditions in a large number of schools. The primary outcome measure was an age-appropriate science test based on a Key Stage 3 SATs paper, and the secondary measures were English and maths tests provided by GL Assessment. The process evaluation consisted of lesson observations, surveys, and interviews with staff, and surveys and focus groups with students. The trial started in September 2013 and ended in July 2015.