Research projects

Evaluation of Best Practice in Grouping Students

Project director: Ben Styles
Project leader: Matt Walker
Sponsor: The Education Endowment Foundation
End date: December 2017

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has commissioned King’s College London (KCL) to investigate best practice in grouping students by attainment. The project will consist of two components. The main trial (Intervention A) will test an intervention which trains schools in a best practice approach to setting. The trial will focus on teaching within English and maths in Years 7 and 8. A pilot study of an intervention to introduce mixed ability teaching to secondary schools will also be conducted (Intervention B). The feasibility study will examine whether it is possible to overcome the common barriers to mixed ability teaching.


Intervention A will run as an RCT, starting in September 2015 and following children through Years 7 and 8. The sample will be 120 secondary schools, randomised to either receive the intervention or to be part of a control group. Intervention B will be piloted with ten schools.

First monthly news update

The protocols for both trials are still to be agreed.

Any project outputs so far

The results of the pilot study (Intervention B) will be available in Spring 2017 and the results of the ‘best practice in setting’ intervention (Intervention A) will be available in Spring 2018.

Project code: EEFK