An update on Innovation Evaluation projects
Alicia Shaw, Research Schools Facilitator, IEE
Here at the Institute for Effective Education, we are really excited about the Innovation Evaluation projects that we are funding. We have completed our second application round and are now supporting nine evaluations in schools across England. These projects are evaluating the impact of innovations in a wide range of areas with pupils aged between 9 and 17. They are evaluating innovations designed to:
- improve feedback quality;
- enhance pupil self-assessment;
- develop narrative writing skills;
- support the teaching of French and Spanish in primary schools;
- improve resilience;
- develop metacognition;
- promote vocabulary growth and application;
- reduce teacher workload;
- develop independent study skills.
The innovative approaches being trialled include different types of feedback, a class-wide system for collecting and applying new vocabulary, curricula and courses developed by the school, and modifications of programmes developed by external bodies (including a film-based pedagogy and an intervention drawing on cognitive-behavioural therapy principles).
Schools who are awarded innovation evaluation grants receive funding towards their evaluation (up to £5,000 per school participating, to a maximum total of £20,000), but we also support schools to plan and carry out their evaluation robustly. Meetings between the IEE and teachers leading the evaluations in schools support the development of a research protocol, and IEE staff provide support and advice throughout the evaluation process. We have been really impressed by the enthusiasm staff at these schools have shown for using research evidence to identify innovative solutions to issues in their school, their desire to evaluate the impact of these new practices and their openness to increasing the rigour of their evaluations, for example by including control groups and objective outcome measures in their designs.
Two evaluations are currently underway, and seven more will start in September 2017. All projects that are awarded an innovation evaluation grant will produce an evaluation report, whether their findings are positive, negative or neutral. The first report, into the impact of a programme designed to increase resilience on the behaviour and attendance of Key Stage 3 pupils, will be published in autumn 2017. The next, to be published in spring 2018, will report on the impact of a vocabulary banking and reward programme on the reading comprehension and vocabulary of Year 7 and 8 pupils. All reports will be published on our website, where project overviews and research protocols for all innovation evaluation projects are also shared.
There will be three more innovation evaluation funding rounds next academic year. The first will open on 25th September and close on 10th November (our website has more information on the dates of later rounds, and we will post information on how to apply when application rounds are open). Applications from settings wishing to evaluate the impact of innovative practices on educational outcomes for learners aged 2–18 would be welcome.
If you are interested in applying for a grant, have a look at the Innovation Evaluation Handbook and, if you think this could be a good fit for your project, your first step should be to speak to the lead at your local Research School. To find the Research School closest to you, look at the Research Schools Network website. We are looking forward to receiving lots more great applications next academic year!