Science Self-Testing Toolkit

The intervention is a suite of five activities that all aim to increase the amount of pupil self-testing in Key Stage 4 science study. The Head of Science and one other science teacher from each school will attend two days of training at one of three schools: Kingsbridge Academy, Huntington and Durrington. Each school will provide training for four schools, who will be the pilot schools. Pilot schools will also receive two half days of in-school coaching to help to tweak their practice and ensure good implementation.

The five activities that pilot schools will implement are:

  • Pre/Post tests;
  • Flash card revision;
  • Mindmapping tests;
  • Structured note taking; and
  • Cumulative quizzing. 

All of these approaches encourage pupils to engage in active retrieval of practice throughout the curriculum, as well as during revision. These approaches would ideally be implemented over two years and when pupils are in Years 10 and 11. The intervention also encourages schools to engage with parents and hold one event for parents to explain the importance of self-testing, the kinds of revision activities that pupils should be doing, and how parents can best support them (for example testing pupils by using flashcards with them).

 This pilot study will assess whether the programme has evidence of promise, is feasible and how ready it is for scale-up. The project is being jointly funded with the Wellcome Trust as part of the Improving Science Education round. 

Why are we funding it?

EEF and Wellcome are interested in funding a pilot study of the Science Self-Testing Toolkit. The programme at the classroom level is fully developed, but has not yet been tried in schools outside of those that the development team work at. The training for other schools has never been implemented and it will be important to see if it is sufficient to enable other schools to adopt the approaches. 

This project is jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of our Improving Science Education Round.

How are we evaluating it?

We have appointed a team from NatCen to independently evaluate the pilot. This pilot will focus on three key research questions: evidence of promise, feasibility and readiness for scaling up. A range of data collection methods will be used as part of the pilot at several points in time, including:interviews with Heads of Science; observations of training workshops; and an online pupil survey.

The evaluation team will also conduct desk research to map out the key characteristics of the schools participating in the pilot to make judgements about the applicability of pilot results to the wider population if the programme is to be scaled-up. They will compare pilot schools with the average school in the UK using: OFSTED rating, GCSE results, class size, proportion of FSM students, proportion of BME students, etc.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in Autumn 2019.