Education Endowment Foundation:ReflectED Metacognition

ReflectED Metacognition

Rosendale Primary School
Implementation cost
Evidence strength
Impact (months)
+4
months
Project info

Independent Evaluator

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University of Manchester
Using technology to teach pupils strategies they can use to monitor and manage their own learning
Pupils: 1858 Schools: 24 Grant: £253,000
Key Stage: 2 Duration: 1 year(s) 11 month(s) Type of Trial: Efficacy Trial
Completed January 2016

This page covers the first (efficacy) trial of ReflectED, which tested whether it could work in schools under best possible conditions. To read about the second (effectiveness) trial – testing a scalable model under everyday conditions in a large number of schools – click here.

ReflectED is a programme that aims to develop pupils’ metacognitive skills – their ability to monitor and manage their own learning – by teaching specific learning strategies and encouraging pupil reflection

The EEF funded this project because there is evidence that improving pupils’ metacognitive skills is a powerful way to improve academic outcomes, but there is a shortage of programmes which support teachers to do this effectively. It was funded through the EEF’s 2013 Digital Technology funding round because the programme utilised digital technology to help children record their reflections.

The findings from this evaluation are mixed, but overall they suggest that the ReflectED approach is promising. The impact on maths was positive: children who received the ReflectED programme made four months of additional progress in maths compared to children who did not. However, there was an unexpected negative impact on reading: children who received ReflectED made two months less progress compared to other children. It is important to remember that this was a small project which indicates the impact of ReflectED in the schools involved in the study. Further research is required before we can be confident that similar impacts would be found in other schools. The positive maths result is promising enough that the EEF, the National Education Trust and Rosendale Primary School will explore the potential for developing the approach further and testing it in a larger number of schools.

  1. Pupils who participated in ReflectED made an average of four months’ additional progress in maths compared to pupils who did not.
  2. Pupils who participated in ReflectED made an average of two months’ less progress in reading compared to pupils who did not.
  3. The findings for the schools in this trial have moderate to high security. However, the analysis conducted suggests that we cannot conclude from this trial alone that the intervention would have a similar impact in other schools.
  4. Most schools were already teaching metacognitive and reflective skills similar to those encouraged by ReflectED. This might have limited the additional impact that ReflectED had on teachers’ practice and pupils’ outcomes.
  5. Teachers suggested that ReflectED would work best as a whole-school programme, and that they could deliver the programme more effectively after the first year of delivery. Future research could examine the impact of implementing ReflectED across all year groups in the school and allowing more time for the programme to become embedded.
Outcome/​Group
ImpactThe size of the difference between pupils in this trial and other pupils
SecurityHow confident are we in this result?
Mathematics
+4
Months' progress
Reading
-2
Months' progress