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ThinkForward Evaluation: outcomes study

We have completed two studies into the outcomes that ThinkForward achieve.

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 improvement in GCSE attainment. However, 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:

As a result we ran a second outcomes study exploration 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 in which our Progression Coaches work with the most at-risk ten young people per year group and begin doing so from the beginning of year 9. This change was based on our initial analysis of the first two years of delivery of ThinkForward and a “Theory of Change” process to improve the way the programme was designed to provide even better outcomes for young people through lessons learned.

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 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’.