Science Self-Testing Toolkit

The Science Self-Testing Toolkit (SSTT) is a suite of five evidence-informed, content-free strategies to be used and deployed by teachers, students and parents at Key Stage 4 (KS4). These five strategies are:

  • Pre/post tests
  • Flashcards
  • Mind-mapping tests
  • Structured note taking
  • Cumulative quizzing

These approaches encourage students to engage in active retrieval of knowledge throughout the curriculum, as well as during revision. The implementation of the intervention was facilitated by a number of support activities, including two external training days held by Hub schools, in-school short training sessions (‘cascading’), in-school coaching, after-school briefings and updates for teachers (‘twilight sessions’), and parent engagement sessions.

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Science

Subject

accessibility

Key Stage 4

Key stage

EEF Summary

This project is jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of our Improving Science Education Round. The pilot of SSTT was funded because the programme at the classroom level is fully developed, but has not yet been tried in schools outside of those that the development teams work at. The training for other schools has never been implemented, and it was be important to see if it was sufficient to enable other schools to adopt the approaches.

Students responded well to the intervention, but some strategies were perceived as more effective and enjoyable than others. Students with higher self-efficacy had a more positive experience than students with lower science self-efficacy. Some strategies in the SSTT are close to usual practice (flash card revision). Heads of science and science teachers responded well to the intervention, both in terms of attitudes and behaviours. Support activities were faithfully implemented and the cost of SSTT is low.

Despite the above-mentioned strengths, further consideration must be given to a few issues to make a trial feasible, as the conditions of implementation were more favourable than what they would be in a trial. These issues include: the innovativeness of the intervention, clarity over the target year group and duration of the programme , the frequency and use of the SSTT, and the responsiveness of schools and teachers to the evaluation.

The EEF has no plans for a further trial of the SSTT. 

Research Results

Question

Comment

Is there evidence to support the theory of change?

Students responded well to the intervention, but some strategies were perceived as more effective and enjoyable than others. Students with higher science self-efficacy had a more positive experience than students with lower science self-efficacy. Some strategies in the SSTT are close to usual practice (flash card revision).

Is the approach feasible to deliver?

Heads of science and science teachers responded well to the intervention, both in terms of attitudes and behaviours. Support activities were faithfully implemented and the cost of SSTT is low.

Is the intervention ready to be evaluated in a trial?

Despite the above-mentioned strengths, further consideration must be given to a few issues to make a trial feasible as the conditions of implementation were more favourable than they would be in a trial. These issues include (1) the innovativeness of the intervention, (2) clarity over the target year group and optimal duration of the programme, (3) the frequency and use of the SSTT, (4) the developers’ willingness and capacity to recruit and deliver on a greater scale, and (5) the responsiveness of schools and teachers to the evaluation.

Evaluation info

Schools

12

Pupils

2100

Key Stage

Key Stage 4

Start date

November 2018

End date

July 2020

Type of trial

Pilot Study


  1. Updated: 16th July, 2020

    Printable project summary

    1 MB pdf - EEF-science-self-testing-toolkit.pdf

  2. Updated: 16th July, 2020

    Pilot evaluation report

    1 MB pdf - SSTT_report_(final)_.pdf

  3. Updated: 1st March, 2019

    Study Plan

    315 KB pdf - SSTT_Evaluation_Plan_FINAL.pdf

Full project description

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