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It’s at a Premium January 4, 2012

Posted by IaninSheffield in Management, research.
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The Pupil Premium is one way in which the Government is attempting to address educational inequality.

We know a good education is the key to improving young people’s life chances, to enable them to progress into adulthood with the skills and confidence for success. The Pupil Premium will provide schools with the resources with which to address inequalities in the system and raise the attainment of those pupils from low income families.

I was having a look through the Pupil Premium Toolkit, commissioned by the Sutton Trust, which seeks to guide “teachers and schools on how best to use the Pupil Premium to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.” By reviewing educational research, the toolkit compares different strategies used to improve pupil attainment (Assessment for Learning, One-to-one tutoring etc); exploring impact, cost and the strength of the evidence. You’ll see from either the online version or the downloadable PDF, that the information on each intervention is presented first in a summary, then subsequently in more detailed form.

I got to wondering which approaches might be most cost-effective in terms of greatest gain per £ – not a difficult calculation to do and mere moments of effort to produce a spreadsheet. But then I thought how we might also factor in the strength of the evidence; after all would it be wise to spend money on an approach producing a high attainment gain per £ if the evidence which suggested that approach isn’t quite so robust?

Which all led me to this bubble chart:

Approaches to learning chart

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by ianguest: http://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/6636953349/

Gain in attainment on the horizontal axis, cost on the vertical and width of bubble indicating the strength of the research which produced the findings. So the sweet spot is the bottom right-hand quadrant where we get high gains for low (moderate?) cost. And what do we see? Providing effective feedback, meta-cognitive strategies, peer tutoring and homework (?!) all figure prominently. Sadly, ICT only produces moderate gains and at a high cost … but there’s a whole other post could come from that!

Does that reflect your day-to-day experience though?

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