A Compass To Navigate Education
Created: Wednesday, 09 November 2016 11:43
Claudia Civinini presents an overview of a substantial body of research which analyses the evidence behind many educational practices and interventions
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent grant-making charity founded by the Sutton Trust whose mission is to close the attainment gap for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It aims to do so by collaborating with research institutions to test educational practices and interventions, and provide evidence about which of these work best – and at what cost. They then collect their results in the Early Years and Teaching and Learning (5–16-year-old) Toolkits ‘so that schools have the best possible evidence on which to base their own professional judgements’.
The Toolkits list practices and interventions such as ‘Teaching Assistants’ or ‘Block Scheduling’ (longer lessons but fewer of them), and for each of these they indicate the cost, strength of the supporting evidence and average impact measured in terms of months of learning they can add – or subtract – to the student’s education, from +8 to -4, taking average pupil progress over a year as a benchmark. In our bid to dedicate more space to evidence-based teaching, we believe the tools offered by EEF can make a good compass for teachers and policy-makers alike. On this page we offer an overview of what works really well with very young learners and students aged 5–16, and for the latter group we also show you which practices we thought would work wonders but actually don’t, which practices don’t work and which ones can be potentially damaging. Overall, the evidence points to something that we all know, but that curiously doesn’t get the same attention as the latest technological gadget: teachers and their expertise are the greatest asset in a school.
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