EEF seeks schools for ‘rapid-marking’ and handwriting trials

EEF seeks schools for 'rapid-marking' and handwriting trials

The Education Endowment Foundation is looking for around 500 schools throughout England to take part in four new trials involving teachers “rapid-marking” in maths, and using handwriting techniques that help disabled patients improve their coordination after accidents.

The programmes, launched today, have spaces available for 60,000 pupils at 515 primary and secondary schools.

The Realistic Maths Education programme draws on techniques from schools in the Netherlands to train key stage 3 maths teachers in the use of modelling and problem-solving in their lessons.

The trial will involve 24,000 pupils at 120 schools, and maths teachers will use contexts with techniques that are meaningful to pupils, to help them gain confidence in their problem-solving. For example, a teacher might introduce the idea of sharing a baguette with friends, to help pupils learn to compare and combine fractions.

The overarching aim is to prevent an achievement gap from forming

The next programme, Diagnostic Questions, is an online assessment tool developed and delivered by the Behavioural Insights Team, a company that researches the impact of small changes on people’s choices. The tool helps maths teachers quickly identify and address pupil misconceptions.

Teachers will set quizzes for their classes and provide feedback so any misconceptions can be quickly addressed. Around 26,250 key stage 4 pupils at 175 schools will take part.

In the Same Day Intervention trial, pupils will be given a 40-minute maths lesson in which they answer questions independently and then have 15 minutes away from their teacher (attending assembly or a teaching assistant-led activity) while their work is marked using a “rapid marking” code.

The remaining 20 minutes of the lesson then focuses on interventions, where the teacher will group children together based on how they answered the questions, in order to efficiently address any errors.

The overarching aim is to prevent an achievement gap from forming, by use the additional support to ensure that all children reach a certain level of understanding by the end of the school day. This trial will involve 5,400 year 5 pupils at 120 schools.

Finally, Helping Handwriting Shine is an intervention that will train teachers and teaching assistants to use approaches from occupational therapy to boost pupils’ handwriting skills. Occupational therapists offer strategies to help people perform activities in their everyday lives if they are struggling, for example as a result of result of injury, illness, or disability, and teaching ideas will be drawn from the profession.

Delivered by Leeds University, this trial will work with 5,500 pupils at 100 schools, teaching them to plan, do, and then reflect on their writing. It follows evidence presented in the EEF literacy guidance which suggests that if handwriting is slow or a lot of effort, children are less able to think about the content of their writing.