In 1998, The TES Scotland highlighted the staggering exam success in maths of pupils at Northfield Academy in Aberdeen after they had used integrated learning systems (ILS) several times a week over several years. We may have contributed to the spread of ILS.
This week, a city-wide evaluation presents a more even picture across primaries and secondaries which dovetails with other British research findings. ILS systems are not all-singing, all-dancing, but they have strong support among many teachers.
Other evidence is not widely available for the many Scottish schools which have introduced ILS to push up attainment in maths and English in line with government priorities. Schools are naturally committed to their students and will invest heavily in something that appears to work. But research-led initiatives are the way forward and this is no different. A healthy scepticism is always a useful ally in the improvement agenda.