Skip to main content

Children who talk about their learning perform better, study finds

Keeping a learning journal helps pupils achieve higher grades in maths, according to the Education Endowment Foundation

News article image

Keeping a learning journal helps pupils achieve higher grades in maths, according to the Education Endowment Foundation

Pupils who reflect on and discuss their learning make better progress in maths than those who do not, a new study has found.

The study of 1,850 pupils in 30 primary schools, commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), tested a programme intended to develop pupils’ ability to think about their learning, assess their progress and set and monitor goals.

Children then kept a record of their learning, using photographs, written notes and audio recordings. They were encouraged to review these records regularly, and to discuss them with their teachers and classmates.

The researchers found that the 10 year olds who took part in the study made additional progress in maths, compared with those pupils who did not take part.

However, they added that the study involved a relatively small number of pupils, and that further research would be required in order to determine whether a similar impact might be achieved by the programme in other schools.

Closing the attainment gap

In addition, the EEF published the results of two other studies today.

It conducted an evaluation of the Teacher Effectiveness Enhancement Project, a whole-school professional-development course delivered by outstanding teachers. Teachers received three full days of training on topics including pedagogical approaches, phases of learning and effective teacher behaviours.

The evaluation found that the scheme did not have an impact on the GCSE English and maths results of pupils in low-performing schools.

A pilot trial of a coaching programme to support GCSE pupils at risk of not being in education, employment or training found that the programme did not improve outcomes. The researchers also concluded that the trial itself needed to be modified, before it was carried out at a larger scale.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the EEF, said: “All of today’s reports will add to the EEF’s growing source of robust and reliable evidence that teachers and school leaders can use to help close the attainment gap.”

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you