Improving Numeracy and Literacy: Evaluation Report and Executive Summary

Rob Ager, Ben Styles, Juliet Sizmur, Jack Worth

26 June 2015

This NFER report has been produced for the Education Endowment Foundation and its evaluation of the Improving Numeracy and Literacy programme, which aimed to improve the numeracy and literacy abilities of pupils in Year 2 through two separate programmes of teacher training, accompanying teaching materials and computer games. Both interventions were designed to last for 10 to 12 weeks with children receiving one hour of instruction per week as one of their normal literacy or numeracy lessons. The purpose of this trial was to evaluate the efficacy of teacher delivery in a whole-class situation and examine the impact on pupils’ overall performance in numeracy and literacy.

University of Oxford designed the two interventions and supported their delivery in 36 intervention schools. NFER randomised schools into intervention and control groups and independently administered the post-test in every school that started the trial. NFER’s evaluation has been awarded the first ever five 'padlocks', EEF’s highest rating of research quality.

Key Findings

  • This evaluation provided evidence that the Mathematics and Reasoning programme had a positive impact on pupils’ numeracy ability equating to three additional months’ progress.
  • There was no evidence to suggest that the Literacy and Morphemes programme had an impact on pupils’ literacy ability overall.
  • There was an association between greater use of the accompanying computer games and greater impact in the numeracy intervention, suggesting the computer games were important to successful implementation.
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