Evaluation

Measuring and evaluating how well education policy initiatives, classroom interventions and training programmes are working, and why, enables the education community to improve education and life chances for children and young people. NFER delivers bespoke, end-to-end impact and process evaluations. Our evaluations are independent, robust, insightful and ethical.

NFER’s widely respected evaluations have informed education policy and practice for over 70 years, providing sound evidence in education debates and national reviews. In particular, we have delivered many high-profile evaluations of government initiatives and practice interventions for the Department for Education and the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

Our researchers, economists, statisticians, assessment specialists, psychometricians and operations specialists have extensive knowledge of the education system and expertise in:

  • a broad range of evaluation methodologies
  • developing valid assessment and outcome measures and instruments, using piloting, cognitive interviewing and psychometrics
  • managing large, complex evaluations
  • engaging busy research participants, such as educational professionals and children and young people, in research
  • drawing on the wider evidence base to inform our evaluations.

We constantly update our methodologies and practices so that our research benefits from the latest knowledge and ideas. We are therefore well equipped to design robust evaluations that meet our clients’ needs. We deliver the following types of evaluation:

  • pilot evaluations and feasibility studies – which are appropriate for evaluating initiatives in the early stages of development and for assessing whether a larger-scale evaluation is sensible and viable.
  • impact evaluations – which investigate the impact of an initiative, drilling down into the effect of the intervention over and above what might have happened without it and the extent to which any changes can be directly attributed to the intervention. We use approaches such as randomised controlled trials (RCTs), quasi-experimental and pre- and post-intervention designs.
  • value for money evaluations – which assess whether an intervention is delivering value for money, compared to similar initiatives, as part of a wider impact evaluation.
  • process evaluations – which explore how well an initiative was implemented. We use a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods to do this.

We work closely with our clients from the start of projects. This might include collaboratively developing a Theory of Change to set out how an initiative is intended to achieve its aims, drafting evaluation instruments, progress updates and discussing what the evaluation findings mean and how we can most usefully present and share them with you.

We deliver monitoring and evaluation work both in the UK and internationally.

If you are interested in commissioning us to work with you, please contact our Bid Team.