Way back in January 2019, we received the exciting news that English Mastery had been granted funding to run a large-scale, two-year efficacy research trial with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). The opportunity to contribute to education research with a randomised controlled trial (RCT) was something we had been working on for months – years – as we had some promising insights from developing English Mastery in the Ark Schools network.
Today, the EEF have published the report, written by the independent evaluators, NatCen.
What’s in the report?
With the immense pressures facing teachers and students in academic years 19/20 and 20/21, we all – English Mastery, the EEF, and NatCen – decided that running assessments and intensive evaluation activity would put an unnecessary burden on schools, teachers and students. As a result, it was not possible to make robust estimates of English Mastery’s impact on pupil progress. But all is not lost on that front – more on that later.
Instead, the EEF report includes insights on the implementation and process evaluation (IPE). This collates feedback from teachers who took part in the trial. The number of teachers who participated in the interviews and surveys with NatCen means that there are some useful, valid qualitative insights in the report. It tells us how teachers feel English Mastery is impacting their practice, how they believed it impacted students’ progress and attainment, and – for the first time in a research trial – how English Mastery supports teacher workload.
What does the report say about English Mastery?
Alright, enough prelude. What does the EEF report tell us? What do teachers have to say about its impact?
We are absolutely thrilled with the findings.
This just scratches the surface of the headlines, but we are beyond proud to have teachers saying that they think English Mastery is having such a positive impact on their teaching and students.
There were a number of constructive comments about how English Mastery could be improved further, including suggestions for broadening the scope of the curriculum (something we’ve worked especially hard on this year), a desire for a closer link between assessment and planning, and better proofing of resources. All brilliant suggestions, and I’ll talk more about how we’ve been addressing them in a future post.
The report is – and I have to temper my subjectivity here – very positive about the impact teachers feel English Mastery has.
Because of this, the DfE have provided funding to re-trial English Mastery.
If your school is interested in testing the impact on students’ performance in English, on teachers’ professional development, or on teachers’ workload, you can apply to participate in a new trial, starting in September 2022.
UPDATE: The trial has now started, and recruitment is closed. Speak to us about joining the English Mastery programme today.