I recently came across an interesting piece of research jointly conducted by The Sutton Trust and The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). Originally carried out in 2011 with the premise of giving guidance to teachers and schools on how to utilise resources to raise achievement in disadvantaged learners, the researchers looked at 21 teaching and learning interventions, their cost-effectiveness and the impact on attainment.
The project was updated in 2015, and this time examined 34 teaching and learning interventions including collaborative learning (groupwork), digital technology, early years intervention, feedback, individualised instruction (differentiation), learning styles, mentoring, one to one tuition, parental involvement, peer tutoring, reducing class size, and social and emotional learning.
We all know that throwing money at a problem doesn’t necessarily resolve it, and the flip-side to that is not investing sufficient funds to make any material difference.
Cost estimations used in the Toolkit are based on the approximate cost of implementing an approach for a group of 25 learners. Where the approach does not require an additional resource, estimates are based on the cost of training or professional development which may be required. This data enables us to conduct our own cost-benefit analysis by comparing the cost estimations with the expected increase in average attainment.
Average impact is estimated in terms of the additional months’ progress you might expect learners to make as a result of an approach being used by an education provider, taking average learner progress over a year as a benchmark.
Having previously initiated a peer tutoring scheme in an FE college where it led to a significant improvement in retention and achievement, I was personally interested in the research findings regarding the impact of peer tutoring on attainment.
According to the research, implementing peer tutoring has an average impact of five months. This means that learners in a group where peer support is provided, will make on average five months more progress over the course of a year, compared to another group of learners who were performing at the same level at the start of the year. On a 12 month programme of study, like the apprenticeships we run, this is a significant outcome.
As with any research project, the results are contextual and therefore not automatically transferable, but they do provide practitioners with a useful basis on which to promote innovative teaching and learning strategies.
The Teaching and Learning Toolkit is a live resource and will continue to be updated.