EEF PSQM Trial
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Wellcome Trust are jointly funding a trial to evaluate the impact of the PSQM on pupil outcomes. The trial is being run in twenty areas of England only.
The selected areas are:
Further eligibility criteria are as follows:
- The school cannot have received a PSQM award in the last 3 years. Schools which received Primary Science Quality Marks in 2017 or 2018 are not eligible.
- The school must be a state primary, junior or all-through school. Infant or first schools, private schools, special schools, PRUs or middle schools are not eligible.
- The school must have at least one Year 5 class with 15 or more children. Mixed year 5/6 or any other combination are not eligible.
What type of trial is it?
The EEF commissions projects using a randomised controlled trial (RCT) methodology to evaluate educational interventions. RCTs are one of the most rigorous and reliable ways to understand effectiveness and the EEF have, to date, funded more than 150 such studies. Further information about the EEF can be found at: www.educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk
There are features of a randomised control trial that it is important for you to understand. Please read the following carefully and call (01707 281034) or email firstname.lastname@example.org) PSQM HQ if you have any questions.
Who will carry out the research?
The trial will be carried out by RAND Europe, independent evaluators appointed by the EEF. (Further information about RAND and the trial can be found here https://www.rand.org/randeurope/research/projects/primary-science-quality-mark.html
How do we sign up for the trial?
All schools that meet the eligibility criteria and apply to be part of the trial must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to the terms of the trial.
The MOU will be sent to head teachers who apply to PSQM for their schools to be part of the trial. Once the MOU and the required data has been returned to PSQM, the school will be considered to be taking part in the trial. Numbers are limited for each trial area, so it is a first come, first served basis.
How does a Randomised Controlled Trial work?
To be accepted onto the trial, all schools must provide Unique Pupil Numbers for all the children in Year 4. This is for the evaluation process to enable long-term follow-up of pupils. All subsequent data will be anonymised.
Schools in each region will be randomly assigned to one of two groups by RAND Europe. PSQM will not be involved in how the schools are assigned.
Schools will be notified in June 2019 whether they are in the:
- intervention group, which will take part in PSQM beginning autumn term 2019
- comparison (or ‘control’) group which will not take part in PSQM.
Both intervention and comparison schools are vital to the evaluation and will be asked to participate in research activities.
What will being part of the control group involve?
Schools assigned to the control group will not take part in PSQM. Schools will receive a thank you payment of £1,500 at the end of the trial and will continue ‘business as usual’ regarding staff development, and science teaching and learning, but cannot take part in PSQM in 2019-20 or 2020-21. From Autumn 2021 schools assigned to the control group would be welcome to take part in PSQM and could choose to use the £1,500 payment to fund this, but can spend the funding on whatever they wish.
What will being part of the intervention group involve?
Schools assigned to the intervention group will start PSQM in autumn term 2019. The subject leader and Year 5 teacher from one Year 5 class will attend PSQM training locally and submit for a Primary Science Quality Mark at the end of June 2020. These schools will not be charged for PSQM (which would normally cost £805.00), will receive an additional payment of £1,500 as a contribution towards cover costs and can claim up to £120 for travel expenses. They must fully engage with the PSQM process and implement it in school.
How will data will be collected?
All schools (those in both the control and intervention groups) must facilitate data collection by the evaluation team (RAND Europe). This will be in the form of a short attainment test and attitude survey for pupils in June 2020 and June 2021 for children in a year 5 class. These will be administered by an external agency with all the requisite checks. There will also be a teacher, subject leader and head-teacher surveys and interviews. Other types of data collection will include visits to several PSQM training sessions and interviews with parents and school governors in several selected schools. All results will be anonymised and not identifiable at school, teacher, or individual level.
If you have any further questions please contact PSQM on 01707 281034 or register your interest here.