ReflectED Metacognition

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. 

ReflectED Metacognition

Rosendale Primary School

grade promising project

Using technology to teach pupils strategies they can use to monitor and manage their own learning

Evidence Strength
Impact (months)
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Cross curriculum



Key Stage 2

Key stage

EEF Summary

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.

Research Results


Months' Progress
Evidence Strength


Months' Progress
Evidence Strength

Were the schools in the trial similar to my school?

Thirty schools took part in the trial. 26 of the schools were rated good or outstanding by Ofsted.

35% of pupils were eligible for free school meals. 

Could I implement this in my school?

ReflectEd is not currently commercially available. The EEF is conducting a scale-up trial on a model that could be made available to schools across the country.



Delivered by


Whole School

Participant group


28 Weeks

Intervention length

How much will it cost?

ReflectEd costs £18.72 per pupil per year, averaged over three years. This includes the costs of training and the licence fee for the note-taking software, but does not include the costs of tablets or laptops required to use the software. Participating teachers were required to attend two and a half days of training over the course of the year.



Cost per pupil


3 Days

Training time per staff member

Evaluation info





Key Stage

Key Stage 2

Start date

February 2014

End date

January 2016

Type of trial

Efficacy Trial

Evaluation Conclusions

  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.

  1. Updated: 13th April, 2018

    Printable project summary

    1 MB pdf - EEF-reflected-meta-cognition.pdf

  2. Updated: 8th February, 2016

    Project Protocol

    265 KB pdf - EEF_Project_Protocol_ReflectED.pdf

  3. Updated: 3rd November, 2016

    Evaluation report

    721 KB pdf - EEF_Project_Report_ReflectED.pdf

Full project description