EEF – SIX NEW TRIALS TO FIND OUT HOW BEST TO RAISE ATTAINMENT, INCLUDING THREE FOCUSED ON EAL PUPILS

For more information see the Education Endowment Foundation website

EEF TO TEST IF TEACHING PUPILS ‘REAL-WORLD’ MATHS SKILLS LIKE ESTIMATING THE COST OF GAS BILLS CAN IMPROVE THEIR MATHS GCSE RESULTS

SIX NEW TRIALS TO FIND OUT HOW BEST TO RAISE ATTAINMENT, INCLUDING THREE FOCUSED ON EAL PUPILS

A new trial will find out if teaching teenagers real-world maths such as estimating the cost of a gas bill or calculating the interest on a bank account can improve their maths GCSE results, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) announced today.

10,000 pupils in 130 English schools will take part in the evaluation of Young Enterprise’s Maths in Context programme which provides teachers with training and a set of lesson plans to help them teach maths in real-world contexts.

Around a quarter of questions in GCSE maths exams involve applying maths to real-world contexts, but most students only achieve a grade E or F in these questions. This suggests that many find it difficult to apply the maths skills they have learnt in class to real-world contexts. It is hoped that by focusing on how maths can be used at a personal level, pupils taking part will find it more engaging and relevant to real life, as well developing essential financial literacy skills.

The grant to evaluate Maths in Context is part of a £700,000 fund the EEF launched with the Money Advice Service to explore ways to give school pupils the tools and information they need to manage their money well. It is one of six new randomised controlled trials announced today.

EAL funding round

Three of these new EEF trials will test different ways to improve the attainment of pupils who speak English as an additional language (EAL) and have been funded as part of a £2m fund the EEF launched with Unbound Philanthropy and The Bell Foundation. It draws on previous research from Oxford University, commissioned by the three funders, that found that there is a significant variation in the results achieved by pupils classified as EAL. While many EAL pupils catch-up with their peers by the age of 16, some groups do not and are at particular risk of underachieving.

Learning Unlimited’s Family SKILLS programme, run in partnership with the Family Learning Local Authority Group (FLLAG) and the Campaign for Learning, will focus on parental engagement to improve the literacy skills of reception class pupils with EAL and their parents. Parents will be helped to develop their own literacy and language skills so they feel more confident about supporting their child’s learning at home. In addition, families will be given an introduction to the education system in England and the culture of schools, as well as advice on how to make the most of bilingualism. The trial will focus on those identified as underachieving and will involve 6,300 pupils.

Additional grants to Challenge Partners and Enfield Council will fund trials of two different programmes that train teachers to support their EAL pupils in the classroom:

· Through three days of training, EAL in the mainstream classroom (delivered by Challenge Partners) helps teachers of Year 10 classes to plan lessons with EAL pupils in mind, develop specific resources for these pupils and differentiate between pupils with different language skills.

· Integrating English (delivered by Enfield Council), gives four days of training to Years 5 and 6 teachers to enable them to teach a functional approach to linguistics and grammar.

Round 9 general funding round

Two of the six grants announced today are part of the EEF’s general funding round. Achievement for All is a whole-school approach to closing the attainment gap between children deemed vulnerable to underachievement – including those on free school meals and those with special educational needs – and their peers.

This programme focuses on four elements: leadership; teaching and learning; structured conversations with parents and carers; and wider outcomes like enjoyment and engagement. Every school that takes part in the intervention will receive bespoke content and coaching, based on analysis of their individual data and their own perceived issues.

Delivery will focus on primary schools in the North East as part of the EEF’s five-year campaign to improve literacy levels in the region.

Finally, a grant to the University of Oxford and UCL, Institute of Education will allow an independent evaluation of a strategy to improve language and social emotional development in three and four year olds. The programme supports early years practitioners to use research-validated assessment tools as a framework for evaluating and improving quality within their settings in areas known to predict children’s later development; and for developing their own knowledge and skills.

All six of the trials announced today are now recruiting schools to take part. The results of the evaluations will be published on the EEF website and used to inform the Teaching and Learning Toolkit, an accessible summary of education research.

Commenting on the grant to trial Young Enterprise’s Maths in Context programme, Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

“Most of us would agree that developing a good level of financial literacy is important to success later in life. But many young people are struggling to translate the skills they learn in maths lessons into real-life contexts. Our evaluation of Maths in Context will help give teachers and schools a clearer picture of the best ways to equip young people with the practical maths skills they need to succeed.”

On the three new grants to programmes that focus on raising the attainment of pupils with EAL, Sir Kevan added:

“While it is true that there are some groups who speak English as an additional language who go on to do well at GCSE, there are certainly some that don’t and whose outcomes are very poor.

“We need to make sure that all pupils who have English as an additional language go on to gain fluency in English so that they achieve well in school, have good career prospects and a bright future here in the UK. To do this effectively, it’s vital that schools and teachers have access to high-quality evidence of what does and doesn’t work.”

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