Teacher Choices Pilot Trial - A Winning Start

Privacy notice for 2020-21 trial

This project and its evaluation were affected by the 2020 school closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic (academic year 2019-20). Therefore, we are running this trial again in 2020-21 academic year. The evaluation protocol is being updated and will be published here as soon as possible.

The Teacher Choices project is exploring the feasibility of running robust evaluations of teachers’ everyday choices in the classroom. In every lesson, teachers choose how to approach teaching and learning such as how to start a lesson, how to engage pupils or how to manage behaviour. The Teacher Choices project aims to find out how everyday choices are implemented and how they affect outcomes in the classroom, exploring if a randomised controlled trial (RCT) methodology and teacher tests can be used to do this. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has commissioned and funded this study. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) is conducting the evaluation.

‘A Winning Start’ is the first trial in the Teacher Choices project that was run in 2019-20 academic year. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the school closures, the trial was not completed fully. As a result, EEF and NFER have decided to rerun the trial during 2020-21. As before, the trial will evaluate two different approaches to starting lessons to examine how teacher choices impact pupils’ learning in science via a Randomised Control Trial (RCT).

The study will compare two popular forms of lesson starters: quizzes and discussions. Year 8 teachers in science departments in schools in England will take part. The trial will recruit from November 2020, and the choices will be implemented in school in the second half of the Spring term (February-March 2021) and first half of the summer term (April-May 2021). Year 8 teachers from the participating schools will be given a short teacher guide to enable them to implement both approaches. The teachers will experience both types of lesson starters - one in the second half of the Spring term and the other in the first half of the Summer term. The type of lesson starter for each topic will be randomly allocated to teachers by researchers at the NFER. The end of topic test scores from schools will be collected to assess whether quiz or discussion approaches are more effective.

If you're a school that would like to find out more about the trial in the academic year 2020-21, please visit this page.

Please see the Privacy notice and the Trial protocol for the 2019-20 trial.