This project will test the impact of a programme to teach children metacognitive, or ‘learning to learn’, skills. These skills are concerned with pupils’ ability to think about their learning explicitly: to assess their progress, set and monitor goals, and identify strengths and challenges in their learning. Rosendale Primary School in Lambeth has been developing an approach to teaching these skills using digital portfolios: children record learning through photographs, written records and audio recordings, which are then tagged by subject or responses to the topic. Pupils are then encouraged to review and reflect on these records over time with teachers and peers. Teachers can also look across these tags to get an overview of the areas that pupils are enjoying or struggling with, and identify specific pupil needs. Rosendale will codify the programme and develop materials with a view to training other schools in its approach.
There is strong evidence that improving ‘learning to learn’ skills is a powerful way of improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. The Toolkit shows that metacognitive approaches have consistently high levels of impact, and studies show that ‘increases in learning have followed direct instruction in metacognitive strategies’.This approach has been developed by teachers, and has the potential for narrowing the gap by improving the way disadvantaged pupils think about their own learning.
The EEF partnered with Nominet Trust to co-fund projects focusing on the use of digital technology in raising the attainment of disadvantaged children. This was one of the seven projects we co-funded. You can read the announcement of this partnership here.
The intervention will be evaluated by a team from Manchester University. This project involves a first year of development, followed by a randomised controlled trial. For the trial, 24 schools will be recruited, with classes randomly allocated to treatment or control for one year. This will enable us to test the effect of the teacher-pupil intervention against a within-school control group, providing the best comparison and statistical power. After one year, schools can then roll out the approach to the control teachers in Year 5 and to year groups lower down the school. Pupil outcomes will be measured in literacy, numeracy and attitudes to learning.
To view the project protocol please click here.