We have completed two studies into the outcomes that ThinkForward has achieved.
Education Endowment Foundation Randomised Control Trial:
ThinkForward took part in the randomised control trial (RCT) to help the EEF test the effectiveness of two different RCT methodologies which would then inform the design of a larger randomised control trial. The RCT was conducted over a two-year period across two academic years. Randomisation took place at both school and pupil level. Regarding the methodology, the trial found that the most effective randomisation should be at a school level. On the educational attainment of young people, the study did not find evidence of improvements in GCSE attainment. Year 11 pupils in the study received just 6 months of support from their Coach before their GCSE examinations. In preparing for their GCSEs young people’s primary focus was on their revision and exam preparation and it was therefore harder for Coaches to work one-to-one. According to changes ThinkForward has made to the programme design since, participants now receive 2.5 years of support before taking their GCSEs. Teachers, Coaches and young people from across both schools reported that they believed the programme was beneficial and the study notes improvements in young people’s behaviour.
For more information on the RCT please click here.
London School of Economics Outcomes Study:
A second outcomes study was conducted to explore the correlations between behaviour, attendance, attainment, Ready for Work capabilities and baseline factors such as gender and ethnicity.
We ran this across three ThinkForward schools in which we have implemented an updated programme design. Changes were made based on our initial analysis of our first two years of delivery and a “Theory of Change” process. As a result, we reduced caseloads by 50% and chose to select young people with the greatest needs.Progression Coaches now work with 10 of the most at-risk ten young people per year group and do so from the beginning of year 9 for 5 years.
The key findings of this study were:
• statistically significant increase in attendance in year 9 of +8.5% (79.3% to 87.8%)
• statistically significant improvement in behaviour points in year 11
• statistically significant worsening of behaviour at one school in year 9 (we are currently exploring the reason behind this with the Progression Coach in the school, including whether there were particular factors which contributed to the observed changes or the school’s approach to behaviour shifted during the period)
• increases in the development of all Ready for Work capabilities in Y9
This evaluation was undertaken by a postgraduate student studying Management Science at London School of Economics, supervised by an experienced statistician and with input from Project Oracle. We are currently working with Project Oracle to get this evaluation validated against their ‘standards of evidence’.