One hundred years of education trials

2019 represents a momentous year in education research, marking the 100th anniversary of the first recorded randomised control trial (RCT) used in an educational setting. 

Our Trials Unit is one of several research groups that carry on the tradition of randomisation today, generating robust evidence to inform the education community’s decision making.

In this Spotlight, you can explore more about the use of RCTs in education and how NFER plans to mark the centenary of the first education trial.


Rct Spotlight

100 years of education trials: no significant difference?

On 23 September, NFER together with the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) are bringing together leading figures in the field of education research to celebrate the contribution trials have made to understanding what works in education, and to consider how they can have more impact in advancing practice and improving outcomes for learners.
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100 years of Randomised Controlled Trials: a researcher’s perspective

NFER Trials Director Pippa Lord reflects on her journey in education research and her experience of attending the one hundred years of randomised controlled trials event.
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100 years of Randomised Controlled Trials: a teacher’s perspective

Teacher and blogger Matthew Courtney discusses the popularity of randomised controlled trials in education and what schools can do moving forward.
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What are randomised controlled trials?

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are widely used as a medical sciences research tool and seen as the ‘gold standard’ for evaluating the effect of medical treatments. However RCTs are increasingly being used in the education sector to demonstrate the impact of an intervention on pupil outcomes. Find out more about how RCTs work in this article.
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Case Study: Code Club UK

Code Club is a nationwide network of free after-school clubs for children aged 9-13 years that provides projects and materials to support the teaching of Scratch, HTML/CSS, and Python. NFER was commissioned to undertake a randomised controlled trial of Code Clubs in order to robustly assess the impact of attending Code Club on children’s computational thinking and attitudes towards computers and coding more generally. Find out more about this evaluation in this case study.
Rct Spotlight

Interested in running an RCT?

If you want to discover what makes a difference to educational, social or emotional outcomes for a group of pupils, class or school, or evaluate the impact of an intervention, the NFER Education Trials Unit can design and deliver an evaluation bespoke to your objectives. Get in touch with our Trials team for more information.