EEF ESRC Technology Enhanced Learning Academic Impact Placement

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Institute for Effective Education

Abstract

I will investigate ways to ensure that existing and future evidence, produced by both the Education Endowment Foundation and external partners, achieves the maximum possible impact in the shortest possible time. The work takes as its starting point the view that "passive dissemination" of research results will rarely be sufficient to have an impact in schools. I will investigate more effective ways to improve the impact and uptake of educational technology in the classroom, such as supporting dialogue and interactions between research users, producers and intermediaries. I will examine existing evidence-based technologies which have and have not been successfully scaled up, in order to identify the key levers for achieving impact at a national level. The work will directly inform the scale up and dissemination of projects from EEF's dedicated digital technology funding round. See http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/apply-for-funding/digital-technology-round for further details of this initiative.

Planned Impact

Drawing on the existing work on research impact and educational technology funded by the ESRC and EEF, this placement provides an excellent opportunity to investigate an understudied but critically important area of 'knowledge mobilisation', which has wider relevance for practitioners, grant-makers and policy-makers in education and other areas of social policy.

By investigating different ways of mobilising knowledge, and investigating attitudes towards the use of evidence, the aim is to increase the use of high-quality research to inform decision-making at all levels. This strategy will involve a dual approach: engaging directly with the practitioner base (bottom up) and at the same time working with wider educational stakeholders to build capacity for evidence-based reform (top down).

Overall, the project has the potential to impact on the following groups:

- UK national and international policy makers
- Local authority and academy chains
- Governing bodies
- Head teachers and school management teams
- Teachers
- Parents
- Children
 
Description The EEF/ESRC 'Research Use in Schools' collaboration began in Autumn 2013 with the aim of improving our understanding of how research informs social practice. This sits in the context of an education sector that is increasingly interested in evidence-based policy and practice.

The EEF/ESRC secondment has involved five broad types of activity:
• Devising and overseeing a research portfolio on Knowledge Mobilisation (KM).
• Applying that learning, and other KM research, to develop EEF's scale up strategy (e.g. scale up campaigns)
• Brokering and communicating research
• Influencing policy (e.g. advising government on evidence-based policy and practice)
• Sharing our learning across different sectors and internationally, including the What Works Network.

There have been four main outputs:

1. DfE/EEF 'Research Use in Schools' funding round

A themed round of EEF projects, rigorously evaluating current approaches to mobilising knowledge with schools. Comprised of five research projects investigating different ways of encouraging schools to engage with, and use, research to improve practice, across three broad types of KM activity:
a) communicating and disseminating research ('push'),
b) building capacity and expertise within schools to use research ('pull')
c) the role of intermediaries and brokers in linking research and practice ('linkage').

The evaluations includes three Randomised Controlled Trials, including one the largest recruited RCTs in education worldwide (~780 schools). Most of these projects are due to report in 2017.

2. Development of the 'Research Use in Schools' survey and outcome measures

A methods development project to create a quantifiable measure of research engagement, to be used within the evaluations of the Research Use in Schools projects. The survey instrument adopts several novel approaches to investigating teachers' use of research, including exploring teacher's objective knowledge of research evidence (as well as self-reported perceptions of research engagement) and the use of factor analysis to quantify and identify trends in the data.

As far as we are aware it is the first standardised, quantified measure of research engagement developed internationally in education. It is currently being adapted for use in other fields, including by other What Works Centres.

3. National baseline survey of schools' use of research

The Research Use in Schools survey has been used to capture a baseline assessment of teachers' use of research evidence. A sample of 500 teachers, middle leaders and school leaders were surveyed in Autumn 2014, providing an insight on current levels of teacher research engagement and research knowledge.

The findings suggest that academic research has only a small to moderate influence on decision making relative to other sources, despite teachers generally reporting a positive disposition towards research. Additionally, it suggests this positive disposition towards research, and perceptions of research engagement, are not necessarily transferring into an increased conceptual understanding of research knowledge.

4. Development and evaluation of EEF scale-up campaigns

The current research around KM and implementation has been used to develop, and test, the scale-up strategy for the EEF, focused on multi-stranded 'campaigns'. Campaigns are specific and directive activities that address practical issues in schools by scaling up evidence-based approaches.

Underpinning each campaign is clear and actionable guidance (i.e. similar to NICE guidelines), plus supporting resources to help schools act on the evidence. This guidance is disseminated and implemented using a range of approaches, tailored for each campaign: e.g. sector-led implementation, programme funding, incentive payments, policy influence.

EEF's first campaign focused on Making best use of Teaching Assistants. £5m has been directed to South and West Yorkshire, where we are working the majority of primary schools in the regions to implement the guidance. Data from the 2015 NFER Omnibus survey suggests 70% of headteachers in England are aware of the guidance report.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies and Sheffield Hallam University are currently evaluating the TA campaign, which will provide information on the viability and impact of the campaigns model, with relevance for WWCs interested in using evidence at scale (due to report Autumn 2017).
Exploitation Route Although the work is focused on the use of research in education it is has cross-sector relevance. Both the research (the 'learning) and the strategy (the 'doing') are increasingly recognised, both nationally and internationally, as important in terms of scale, novelty and significance.

The baseline survey results have been a key evidence source for the government Department for Education's evaluation of 'evidence-based teaching' policy.

The survey is currently being adapted for use in other fields, and could be adapted for use across the What Works Network.

The work has been referenced by the DfE, DfID, Cabinet Office and What Works Network in the UK, the OECD, EU Commission, What Works Clearinghouse, WT Grant Foundation internationally, as well as the KM research community.
Sectors Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other

 
Description The EEF/ESRC 'Research Use in Schools' collaboration began in Autumn 2013 with the aim of improving our understanding of how research informs social practice. This sits in the context of an education sector that is increasingly interested in evidence-based policy and practice. Although the work is focused on the use of research in education it is has direct cross-sector relevance. Both the research (the 'learning) and the strategy (the 'doing') are increasingly recognised, both nationally and internationally, as important in terms of scale, novelty and significance. The work has been referenced by the DfE, DfID, Cabinet Office and What Works Network in the UK, the What Works Clearinghouse and WT Grant Foundation in the US, as well as the international KM research community.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Education
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description 70% of Headteachers, nationally, are aware of the Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants guidance report, with 40% reporting either to have read the report or acted on it (2015 NFER Omnibus data).
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/campaigns/making-best-use-of-teaching-assistants/
 
Description Advising the Danish government on a systematic review on the effective use of research evidence in schools.
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Advising the Department for Education (DfE) on an evaluation of progress towards 'evidence-based teaching'
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Advising the London Schools Excellence Fund on Evaluation and Knowledge Mobilisation
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in advisory committee
 
Description Devise the UK government's standards for teacher professional development
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The group has produced a national set of standards for teacher professional development and learning, which will apply to all English schools.
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/teachers-professional-development-expert-group
 
Description Making best use of Teaching Assistants campaign used as a case study for HM Treasury and No.10
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Member of Teach First research advisory group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Over 1000 schools are participating in the EEF's Research Use in Schools projects.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/evaluation/projects
 
Description Royal College of Teaching advisory group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Shaping government policy on evidence-based reform - devising policy events, supporting government and parliamentary reviews, advising MPs and government on policy towards evidence-based teaching.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact It is hard to attribute any changes in policy towards evidence-informed practice specifically to these activities although it is likely there has been some influence.
 
Description Steering group for the 'Evidence-informed Policy and Practice in Education in Europe' (EIPPEE) network
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
URL http://www.eippee.eu/cms/
 
Title Developing a standardised survey instrument to capture aspects of schools' engagement with research. 
Description I have led the development of a quantifiable measure of research engagement, to be used to capture schools use of academic research. The survey instrument adopts a number of novel approaches to investigating teachers' use of research, including exploring teacher's objective knowledge of research evidence (as well as self-reported perceptions of research engagement) and the use of factor analysis to quantify, and identify trends in, the data. As far as we are aware it is the first standardised, quantified measure of research engagement developed internationally in education. It is currently being adapted for use in other fields, and could be adapted for use across the What Works Network. 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - human 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The tool has been adapted for use in other contexts, including an early years research project and as a national baseline assessment of research use in Australia. It has recently been shared with the What Works Network and could be adapted for use here. 
 
Description Collaboration with Lincolnshire Learning Partnership to disseminate and implement the 'Making best use of Teaching Assistants' guidance across Lincolnshire schools 
Organisation Lincolnshire County Council
Department Lincolnshire Learning Partnership
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution Scale up campaigns are specific and directive activities that address practical issues in schools by scaling up evidence-based approaches. Underpinning each campaign is clear and actionable guidance, with additional supporting resources to help schools act on the evidence. This guidance is disseminated and implemented using a range of approaches, tailored for each campaign - e.g. through communications (e.g. press/media), awareness raising, training, influencing policy. We brought guidance on 'Making best use of Teaching Assistants' to the partnership, help on understanding the guidance, training for schools, and support in creating a plan to integrate the work into the region.
Collaborator Contribution A key feature of the campaign model is partnering with practice-based intermediaries (or 'advocates') in geographically-focused target areas to provide additional practical support for dissemination and implementation. The roles of practice partners include: • Encouraging schools to engage with EEF evidence and resources • Providing support and challenge around implementation through training and coaching. • Integrating EEF's work within the existing processes and priorities in the region • Signposting schools towards EEF-funded interventions that can provide further support for implementation. Lincolnshire Learning Partnership (LLP) provided support of this type across 300 schools in Lincolnshire through events, training and coaching.
Impact Over 300 schools in Lincolnshire are participating in a project to improve the way Teaching Assistants are deployed and trained, in line with the research evidence compiled by the EEF.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Developing a quantifiable measure of schools' use of research evidence 
Organisation National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I have led the development of a quantifiable survey instrument that captures schools engagement with external research and its use within schools. This will be used across all evaluations and schools in the Research Use in Schools funding round, supplementing the impact and process evaluations. See Research Tools and Methods for further details.
Collaborator Contribution We worked with the National Foundation of Education Research (NFER) to develop, pilot and code the survey instrument, working alongside EEF staff and colleagues at the Research Unit for Research Utilisation, University of St Andrews.
Impact As far as we are aware this is the first standardised, quantified measure of research engagement developed internationally in education. It is currently being adapted for use in other fields. The work will be published once the Research Use in Schools fieldwork is finished in the Autumn 2016.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Developing a quantifiable measure of schools' use of research evidence 
Organisation University of St Andrews
Department Research Unit for Research Utilisation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have led the development of a quantifiable survey instrument that captures schools engagement with external research and its use within schools. This will be used across all evaluations and schools in the Research Use in Schools funding round, supplementing the impact and process evaluations. See Research Tools and Methods for further details.
Collaborator Contribution We worked with the National Foundation of Education Research (NFER) to develop, pilot and code the survey instrument, working alongside EEF staff and colleagues at the Research Unit for Research Utilisation, University of St Andrews.
Impact As far as we are aware this is the first standardised, quantified measure of research engagement developed internationally in education. It is currently being adapted for use in other fields. The work will be published once the Research Use in Schools fieldwork is finished in the Autumn 2016.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Establishing the UK Implementation Network 
Organisation Colebrooke Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Helping to establish the UK Implementation Network
Collaborator Contribution Leading the development of the UK Implementation Network
Impact An initial launch event for the network and recruitment of members.
Start Year 2014
 
Description North East Primary Literacy campaign 
Organisation Northern Rock Foundation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The EEF's scale up strategy (see Making best use of Teaching Assistants above) is also being applied to a Primary Literacy campaign in the North East, which has drawn £5m co-funding from the Northern Rock Foundation. The campaign will last five years and aims to reach all primary schools in the region, to apply the evidence on effective literacy teaching.
Collaborator Contribution The Northern Rock Foundation have provided £5m co-funding to the project. They will be involved in the governance of the project.
Impact The collaboration has just started.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with Suffolk County Council: Encouraging schools to use evidence-based programmes 
Organisation Suffolk County Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution EEF have partnered with Suffolk County Council to run an Excellence Fund that supports disciplined innovation across the region, where schools are financially incentivised to implement evidence-based programmes and interventions. 130 schools have selected programmes from a menu of approaches that have been evaluated by the EEF and shown to improve pupils' learning outcomes. Schools have provided 50% of the funding for the programme, with the EEF and Suffolk providing 25% each. EEF and Suffolk CC staff support schools in selecting and implementing the appropriate programmes. EEF are evaluating the project as a novel approach to scaling up evidence-based programmes.
Collaborator Contribution See above
Impact 130 schools have adopted an evidence-based programme as part of the Excellence Fund partnership.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with the Department for Education and Greater London Authority to investigate 'Research Use in Schools' 
Organisation Department for Education
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution In Autumn 2013, the Department for Education and Greater London Authority provided £1.3m to fund a series of rigorous evaluations of current approaches to mobilising knowledge in schools. This work is being managed by the EEF and evaluated independently. This funding emerged as a result of DfE's interest in evidence-informed teaching as a policy area, which had begun earlier in the year with Ben Goldacre's analytical review, Building Evidence into Education. EEF staff (including Jonathan Sharples, on ESRC-funded secondment) have overseen the conceptualisation of the round, the selection of projects, the content and scope of the projects and the design of the evaluations. The aim of the 'Research Use in Schools' round is to gather more empirical evidence around 'what works' in supporting schools engagement with evidence and, following on from this, the impact on pupil's attainment. Although the focus is on the instrumental use of research evidence, we are also interested in how research influences the culture, dispositions and processes within the school (eg school improvement processes, professional development). A funding round opened in January 2014 for six weeks. The guidance notes for applicants called for three types of projects: 1. Communicating research ('Push') - How can research organisations and others effectively communicate their findings and engage with schools? 2. The research informed school ('Pull') - How can schools overcome the barriers to using research well? 3. Intermediaries, brokers and networks ('Linkage') - How can brokers and mediators help schools find and use evidence-based approaches? There were 130 applicants of which eight projects were funded, as part of five evaluations: http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects/projects-a-z/?tile=1&ids=0|674|676|675|673|672
Collaborator Contribution DfE and GLA's contribution has largely been financial (see above) although they have also been involved in reviewing projects for funding.
Impact The projects are all ongoing so there is no direct impact yet. The collaboration has drawn widespread interest from the 'knowledge mobilisation' research community, policy makers (e.g. Cabinet Office, DfID), What Works Centres in other fields (e.g. NICE, College of Policing) and internationally.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Partnership with the Department for Education and Greater London Authority to investigate 'Research Use in Schools' 
Organisation Greater London Authority (GLA)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution In Autumn 2013, the Department for Education and Greater London Authority provided £1.3m to fund a series of rigorous evaluations of current approaches to mobilising knowledge in schools. This work is being managed by the EEF and evaluated independently. This funding emerged as a result of DfE's interest in evidence-informed teaching as a policy area, which had begun earlier in the year with Ben Goldacre's analytical review, Building Evidence into Education. EEF staff (including Jonathan Sharples, on ESRC-funded secondment) have overseen the conceptualisation of the round, the selection of projects, the content and scope of the projects and the design of the evaluations. The aim of the 'Research Use in Schools' round is to gather more empirical evidence around 'what works' in supporting schools engagement with evidence and, following on from this, the impact on pupil's attainment. Although the focus is on the instrumental use of research evidence, we are also interested in how research influences the culture, dispositions and processes within the school (eg school improvement processes, professional development). A funding round opened in January 2014 for six weeks. The guidance notes for applicants called for three types of projects: 1. Communicating research ('Push') - How can research organisations and others effectively communicate their findings and engage with schools? 2. The research informed school ('Pull') - How can schools overcome the barriers to using research well? 3. Intermediaries, brokers and networks ('Linkage') - How can brokers and mediators help schools find and use evidence-based approaches? There were 130 applicants of which eight projects were funded, as part of five evaluations: http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects/projects-a-z/?tile=1&ids=0|674|676|675|673|672
Collaborator Contribution DfE and GLA's contribution has largely been financial (see above) although they have also been involved in reviewing projects for funding.
Impact The projects are all ongoing so there is no direct impact yet. The collaboration has drawn widespread interest from the 'knowledge mobilisation' research community, policy makers (e.g. Cabinet Office, DfID), What Works Centres in other fields (e.g. NICE, College of Policing) and internationally.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Research Schools 
Organisation Government of the UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The Research Schools Network is a partnership between the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Institute for Effective Education (IEE) to fund a network of schools who will support the use of evidence to improve teaching practice. The Research Schools aim to become a focal-point for evidence-based practice in their region, building affiliations with large numbers of schools and supporting the use of evidence at scale. Research Schools will engage with local schools in a variety of ways and with varying degrees of intensity. The Research Schools are all recognised as leaders in bridging between education research and everyday classroom practice. They'll use their expertise to support up to 1000 schools by: 1. Communication - Encouraging schools in their network to make use of evidence-based programmes and practices through regular communication and events. 2. Training & Modelling- Providing training and professional development for senior leaders and teachers on how to improve classroom practice based on the best available evidence. 3. Innovation - Supporting schools to develop innovative ways of improving teaching and learning and providing them with the expertise to evaluate their impact. The Research School Network has attracted widespread attention across government, including from the former Minister for Education, Justine Greening MP, who expanded the network to 12 new social mobility Opportunity Areas, as part of a £3.5m collaboration with the EEF. The network now comprises 23 schools, supported by a total budget of £7.2m and a team of 12 staff.
Collaborator Contribution See above
Impact 23 Research Schools have been appointed and are working with 100s of schools around the country.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Research Schools 
Organisation University of York
Department The Institute for Effective Education
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Research Schools Network is a partnership between the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Institute for Effective Education (IEE) to fund a network of schools who will support the use of evidence to improve teaching practice. The Research Schools aim to become a focal-point for evidence-based practice in their region, building affiliations with large numbers of schools and supporting the use of evidence at scale. Research Schools will engage with local schools in a variety of ways and with varying degrees of intensity. The Research Schools are all recognised as leaders in bridging between education research and everyday classroom practice. They'll use their expertise to support up to 1000 schools by: 1. Communication - Encouraging schools in their network to make use of evidence-based programmes and practices through regular communication and events. 2. Training & Modelling- Providing training and professional development for senior leaders and teachers on how to improve classroom practice based on the best available evidence. 3. Innovation - Supporting schools to develop innovative ways of improving teaching and learning and providing them with the expertise to evaluate their impact. The Research School Network has attracted widespread attention across government, including from the former Minister for Education, Justine Greening MP, who expanded the network to 12 new social mobility Opportunity Areas, as part of a £3.5m collaboration with the EEF. The network now comprises 23 schools, supported by a total budget of £7.2m and a team of 12 staff.
Collaborator Contribution See above
Impact 23 Research Schools have been appointed and are working with 100s of schools around the country.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Delivering regular keynote addresses on evidence-based practice to national and international practitioner audiences 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I regularly present to schools on the concept of 'evidence-informed practice' and how research can be used to inform their decision-making (~50 over the last three years). This is usually framed around a process of evidence-based school improvement and includes practical advice on how to find, interpret and act on research evidence.



The EEF/Sutton Trust Teaching and Learning Toolkit has become a widely referenced resource, informing decision-making in schools and at policy level (e.g. half of headteachers in England report using the Toolkit).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2015,2016,2017
 
Description Presentations to policy audiences on developing evidence-based policy and practice in education 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact I have delivered a number of plenary/key note presentations to policy audiences on developing evidence-based education policy and practice. This includes presentations with OECD, US government, EU Commission, Australian state and federal governments and UK Department for Education.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
 
Description Press/media engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I have conducted a number of interviews with the national press/media on the work related to the placement ( eg Times Education Supplement), particularly the 'Making best use of Teaching Assistants' scale up campaign.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017,2018