Description of the innovation

We wanted to see if we could improve pupils’ retention of content knowledge in their long-term memory and thus improve their performance in academic activities such as analytical writing.  Our innovation had teachers use ten highly structured recall questions and one carefully planned elaborative question at the start of every lesson with their Year 8 history or English class in two different schools. The innovation was due to be conducted over two terms but due to delays around the baseline assessment, the study was shortened to three half terms.

Summary of the evaluation

Pupils sat a baseline test, per school and per subject that measured their performance in responding to an analytical question. They did the same at the end of the innovation. We used comparative judgement to establish their scaled score in each test and thus were able to see whether those in the innovation group outperformed those in the control.


Our research suggested that DoNow+ had a positive impact on pupil performance in history (effect size = +0.23) but in English the effects were negative (effect size = -0.35). The process evaluation suggested that even in English, there were positive side-effects of the innovation, particularly in terms of classroom management.


There is no cost associated with this innovation beyond the time required to train and support staff so that they understand how to execute the technique consistently and effectively.

Lead school

  • Greenshaw High School, Sutton

Main findings

  • Effect size for pupil progress in history = +0.23
  • Effect size for pupil progress in English = -0.35


Download the protocol document