Education Endowment Foundation:One Step Ahead (KS1 Maths Teacher Choices)

One Step Ahead (KS1 Maths Teacher Choices)

The Behavioural Insights Team
Project info

Independent Evaluator

Behavioural Insights Team logo
Behavioural Insights Team

Teacher Choices project exploring targeted support strategies in KS1 Mathematics. Specifically, this project tests the impact of short and regular pre-teaching sessions on Year 1 and Year 2 pupils’ maths learning.

Pupils: 2280 Schools: 100 Grant: £560,980
Participating settings: 100

This project was recruiting but is now full. 

Teacher Choices projects explore some of the most common questions teachers ask about their practice and the everyday choices they make when planning lessons and supporting pupils. The aim of Teacher Choices projects is to investigate the impact of these different day-to-day pedagogical practices on pupil learning and to generate evidence that can be readily applied by teachers in the classroom. This is a new and developing strand of EEF projects.

One Step Ahead’ is a Teacher Choices’ project exploring the impact of different ways in which teachers can support Year 1 and Year 2 pupils in enhancing their maths skills and confidence. One Step Ahead’ involves regular pre-teaching sessions conducted a few times a week before the main maths lesson. These sessions are conducted with small groups of 6 pupils identified by teachers as likely to benefit from additional support at a time, ensuring each child is adequately supported.

This project requires no training time for teachers, and pre-teaching sessions should require limited planning, with guidance materials provided.

Evidence suggests that pre-teaching can result in significant boosts in pupils’ educational outcomes, making this a promising practice to reduce the attainment gap early on and ensure all pupils can achieve meaningful learning. However, there is less research currently based on day-to-day classroom practice, which is why EEF is evaluating everyday decisions through this Teacher Choices project.

Many teachers using pre-teaching or interested in pre-teaching don’t have answers to questions such as: Should they provide additional support to pupils before the main lesson? Is it effective to do so, compared to not doing so? This trial aims to generate evidence about the impact of pre-teaching on mathematics outcomes in realistic classroom contexts.

This project will be assessed by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) through a pupil-level randomised controlled trial (RCT). This entails that, within each participating year-group, teachers will be requested to identify 12 pupils who could benefit from additional pre-teaching support. Evaluators will randomly assign 6 pupils to receive pre-teaching, and 6 to continue receiving the usual in-class and out-of-class support they would typically receive.

The evaluation will assess the impact of pre-teaching on pupil maths anxiety and mathematical reasoning skills. An Implementation and Process evaluation will be conducted alongside the Impact evaluation to explore fidelity of pre-teaching sessions according to guidance, acceptability and adaptations in practice, episode dosage as well as pupil attitudes and experiences.

The evaluation report will be published in Summer 2025.