Education Endowment Foundation:Powerful Learning Conversations

Powerful Learning Conversations

Youth Sport Trust
Implementation cost 
Evidence strengthNot given for this trial
Impact (months)Not given for this trial
Project info

Independent Evaluator

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Developing and testing a programme that applies the feedback practices used in sport to other subjects
Schools: 20 Grant: £206,515
Key Stage: 3 Duration: 2 year(s) Type of Trial: Pilot Study
Completed February 2015

Powerful Learning Conversations (PLC) sought to improve the feedback that teachers give to pupils in Year 9, by training them to apply techniques used in sports coaching. It is based on the idea that feedback in sports coaching is often provided immediately after a task is performed, and delivered in a way that children are more likely to respond positively to. The training programme adopted a cascade’ model: expert teachers were trained in the approach and then expected to disseminate their training to English and Maths teachers in their school. PLC was developed in the UK secondary school context by the Youth Sport Trust (YST) in collaboration with the University of Exeter.

This feasibility pilot study was conducted in 20 schools between January 2014 and November 2014. It had two aims: (1) to explore whether the programme is feasible and ready for a full-scale trial, and (2) to explore the effect on children’s attainment and other outcomes of the programme.


Is there evidence of promise?


The programme did not have any effect on English. The evaluation did detect a positive effect on Maths, but this finding is insecure. Additional research is required to fully understand the impact of the programme on Maths attainment.

Was the approach feasible?


The programme requires additional development to ensure it is more clearly defined.

Is the approach ready to be evaluated in a trial?


The programme requires a clearer structure and tighter specification before it is ready to be tested using a full trial.