Education Endowment Foundation:Teacher Choices in Key Stage 1 Maths

Teacher Choices in Key Stage 1 Maths

Project info

Independent Evaluator

Behavioural Insights Team logo
Behavioural Insights Team

This study is a Teacher Choices’ project focused on Key Stage one (KS1) mathematics.


The scoping phase of this project is complete and schools can now sign up to take part in the Teacher Choices trial exploring targeted support strategies in KS1 Maths. Find out more and register your interest here.

Teacher Choices projects explore some of the most common questions teachers ask about their practice and the everyday choices they make when planning lessons and supporting pupils. The aim of Teacher Choices research is to investigate the impact of these different day-to-day pedagogical practices on pupil learning and to generate evidence that can be readily applied by teachers in the classroom. This is a new and developing strand of EEF projects.

The project is part of the 2022 Teacher Choices round, which focuses on specific areas of teaching practice identified as having gaps in the evidence base and with potential to benefit disadvantaged pupils. These are: early language, KS1 mathematics, and cognitive science.

The choices being explored in this round are intended to be of high interest to schools, a real choice that can be made by classroom teachers, and easy to implement without intensive training and resources.

During the scoping phase, this project will investigate the feasibility of evaluating the following 4 shortlisted research questions in KS1 mathematics:

  • Is pre-teaching more effective than intervening after the lesson?
  • Are same-day or next-day interventions more effective?
  • Which method of providing manipulatives (at central station versus on each desk) is most effective?
  • Is teacher modelling with physical or virtual manipulatives more effective?

Research questions that leverage a dilemma of choice, are easy to define and implement, have the potential to have a positive impact on children and are feasible to evaluate will progress to a full impact evaluation phase.

Mathematics plays a crucial role in children’s development, and a child’s early mathematical understanding has been shown to correlate strongly with later educational achievement. Previous EEF research shows that disadvantaged children are significantly less likely to achieve the expected level of development in mathematics at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage – and, once they fall behind, are likely to see the attainment gap widen. Sub-themes of particular interest include number concepts, geometry and spatial thinking, mathematical talk and vocabulary, metacognition and self-regulation in maths.

The main objective of the scoping phase is to assess the feasibility of each of the four research questions. It also seeks to assess whether the questions should be amended to capture a closely related dilemma of choice for teachers.

The project will include multiple research activities during the scoping phase. This includes a rapid evidence review, semi-structured interviews with school staff, co-design workshop with teachers and Teacher Tapp survey questions. The scoping phase research will inform the design of a subsequent Teacher Choices trial.

The scoping phase will be completed in Summer 2023. Once the scoping phase is finalised, this web page will be updated.