Closing the gap: test and learn - executive summary (Winter 2016)

'Closing the gap: test and learn' is the first programme in the world to trial multiple interventions simultaneously using a wholly collaborative approach across a large number of schools.

In this programme, over 200 teaching schools alliances worked together to carry out 11 large-scale, randomised controlled trials, where one group of students is taught using a new method and another group is taught in the usual way and their performance compared.

Seven interventions were chosen through an extensive and systematic consultation and review of interventions seen as most likely to close the attainment gap for students with achievement below the national average in literacy and numeracy. The inventions were:

  • 1stClass@Number
  • Achievement for all
  • Growth mindsets
  •  Inference training
  • Numicon intervention programme
  • Research lesson study
  • Response to intervention (breakthroughs in literacy)

The report found that, overall, existing practice appears to be at least equal to six of the top seven interventions identified in the consultation but better than growth mindsets when used with an average group of students.

Existing teaching school practice may also be better than the first year of Achievement for all with regard to the exposure of free school meals (FSM) students to this treatment.

The Numicon intervention programme consistently appeared to improve mathematics attainment and progress rates, particularly for FSM students, and irrespective of the analytical model used to assess its efficacy.

The full research and analysis can be found on the www.gov.uk website.

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