Effectiveness Trial of the Mathematical Reasoning Programme

School information sheet [PDF]
Privacy notice for schools [PDF]
Privacy notice for parents and carers [PDF]

What is the effectiveness trial of the Mathematical Reasoning Programme?  

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is funding the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) to evaluate the Mathematical Reasoning (MR) programme through a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT). This trial aims to: 

  • Determine the impact of the MR programme on the mathematical attainment of Year 2 children using GL Assessment’s Progress Test in Maths (PTM).  
  • Explore how best to implement the programme on a larger scale in future by finding out how well the online training worked at scale.  

NFER will randomly allocate 240 eligible schools to either deliver the MR programme (the ‘intervention’ group) or to continue with their usual practice (the ‘comparison’ group). 

Mathematical Reasoning (MR) is a 12 to 15-week programme developed by the University of Oxford for pupils in Year 2. The programme aims to improve mathematical attainment by developing pupils’ understanding of the logical principles underlying mathematics specifically:  

  • Quantitative Reasoning: the ability to reason about quantities and relations between quantities with or without numbers; and 
  • Arithmetic: the ability to reason about relations between numbers using the four operations, with a specific focus on additive composition and the inverse relation between addition and subtraction. 

Children receive approximately one hour of MR content per week in place of one of their normal mathematics lessons. The programme is fully resourced and includes online games for pupils to use. 

The teacher and TA for each participating Year 2 class will be supported to deliver the programme through an online training course and forum, three live interactive webinars and support provided by the University of Oxford. Schools will retain access to the training and to the programme throughout the school year 2024-25. 

Which schools can take part in the trial?

To be eligible to take part in this evaluation, schools must: 

  • Be state primary schools in England; 
  • Not be participating in the Maths-Whizz or Maths Mastery EEF trials; 
  • Should they be randomly allocated to the intervention group: 
  1. Be willing to release the teacher and TA for each participating class for 2 days to complete the training and a total of 1 day to attend the online webinars; 
  1. Be able to provide each participating class with the screen required for the teacher to use PowerPoint slides for the whole-class component and individual devices with an internet connection for pupils to use when working on the computer games component of the programme; 
  • Agree to facilitate the evaluation data collection activities outlined in these documents. 

Schools can choose to run the programme in one or more Year 2 classes. Mixed-year group classes are eligible, but only Year 2 pupils will be assessed as part of the evaluation. 

What would taking part in the trial involve? 

All pupils in participating classes will be assessed by their teacher using GL Assessment’s Progress Test in Maths (PTM-6) in autumn 2024 (before schools are randomised into the intervention and comparison groups). Once programme delivery is complete, an NFER Test Administrator will assess the children using PTM-7 in the summer term 2025. Pseudonymised data on which computer games the children play and when as part of the programme will be extracted from the programme website.   

Teachers and TAs in all participating schools will be asked to complete brief surveys at the start and end of the intervention delivery period. Teachers and TAs in schools allocated to the intervention group will complete the MR training programme. They will also be asked to track when the sessions are delivered and pupil attendance at the sessions using session delivery logs supplied by NFER. 

A small number of schools will be invited to participate in additional data collection activities, including staff interviews, session delivery observations and pupil focus groups. These schools will receive a thank-you payment of £100 in recognition of their time. 

The trial team really appreciate schools’ and participants’ support for the data collection. 

What is the timeline for the trial?

A detailed timeline for the trial can be found in the School Information Sheet.

What are the risks and benefits of my school taking part in this trial? 

We do not anticipate any risks or harm to the schools, staff or pupils participating in this trial.  

Schools allocated to the intervention group will receive all the training and resources for delivery of the MR programme free of charge.  

Once all the data collection has been completed, schools allocated to the comparison group will receive £500 as an acknowledgement for their participation in this study. These funds can be used at the discretion of your school.  

All participating schools will receive pupils’ individual endpoint assessment scores. In addition, your school will be contributing to the evidence base about impact of the MR programme on Year 2 mathematical attainment and helping us learn more about the programme’s implementation. All participating schools will receive a link to the published report with trial findings and this will also be freely available on the NFER and the EEF websites.  

Who controls what data is shared?

NFER is the data controller for this evaluation and will make decisions about how and what personal data is used in accordance with the objectives of the evaluation set by the EEF. Oxford University is the data processor during the evaluation.  

Privacy Information

No school, staff member or pupil will be named in any report arising from this work, nor will we include any information that might mean that someone else could identify them. 

Further details about how we will collect, use and protect data for the evaluation can be found in NFERs Privacy Notices. There is one for schools covering teacher data, and a separate one for parents covering pupil data. 

View Oxford University’s Privacy Notice

How can my school sign up for the trial? 

If your school would like to sign-up for the trial, please get in touch with the Research Project Manager, Louise Matthews at [email protected].

Who should I contact for more information? 

For further information about the MR programme, please get in touch with the Research Project Manager, Louise Matthews at [email protected].

For further information about the evaluation, please get in touch with the NFER evaluation team at [email protected].