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Cognitive Acceleration. Let’s Think in English is designed on exactly the same principles as Cognitive Acceleration in Science Education (CASE) which was developed and repeatedly trialled over 30 years at King’s College London. It shows that structured development of students’ cognitive skills over two years raises their attainment by between 1 and 2 GCSE grades – see Evidence of success : The Adey Report. CASE has been proved to raise students’ attainment significantly in at least 20 international trials – see Let’s Think in Science (CASE) efficacy [PDF document].

Education Endowment Foundation. The EEF is the Government-funded body that investigates ways of raising attainment especially by disadvantaged pupils. Their research on 34 ways of raising attainment found that the two approaches with greatest impact on attainment are Feedback (+ 8 months) and Metacognition and self-regulation (+ 8 months) – see Teaching & Learning Toolkit. These features are built into the structure of Let’s Think and there is good evidence that these features have strong impact on low-achievers. The researchers write: “Encouragingly the evidence suggests that teaching meta-cognitive and self-regulation strategies tend to be particularly effective with lower achieving pupils as well as older students.”

Other research. In Visible Learning for Teachers : Maximising Impact on Learning (Routledge 2012), John Hattie analyses 150 possible influences on students’ learning. He places Piagetian programs like Let’s Think second highest of all the influences with an effect size of 1.28 (between 1 and 2 GCSE grades) (page 251) and confirms the central importance of Adey’s and Shayer’s research (pages 94/95).

Hampshire. At six schools in Hampshire, two teachers taught LTE lessons fortnightly to Year 8 and Year 9 classes throughout 2013/14 with regular support meetings. The students were teacher-assessed at the beginning and end of the year for Reading and Writing and took two different APP tasks in response to an unseen text in timed conditions with a shared mark scheme in September 2013 and June 2014.

All the students made better progress than expected with the free school meal (FSM) students making the greatest progress:

Year 8 TA Reading – 3+ sublevels progress : All students 28% FSM 38%
Year 8 APP Reading – 2+ sublevels progress : All students 61% FSM 90%
Year 8 TA Writing – 2+ sublevels progress : All students 65% FSM 100%
Year 9 TA Reading – 4+ sublevels progress : All students 15% FSM 28%
Year 9 APP Reading – 3+ sublevels progress : All students 42% FSM 50%
Year 9 TA Writing – 3+ sublevels progress : All students 38% FSM 44%

London Schools Excellence Fund Trial. In 2013 – 2015, 35 secondary schools and 8 primary schools, all new to Let’s Think in English, were recruited in London and their staff trained and supervised in delivering LTE lessons fortnightly. In secondary schools, two Year7/Year 8 classes experienced LTE lessons (trial classes) and two other KS3 classes received no LTE lessons (comparison classes). 5 primary schools provided one trial and comparison class and 3 provided two of each. All the classes took pre- and post-tests (GL Assessment’s Progress in English tests) which assess spelling, grammar and punctuation as well as comprehension both fiction and non-fiction.

Owing to delay in the awarding of funding, the schools undertook the LTE programme for two terms (first year) or three terms (second year).

The expected average gain in one year as assessed by the Progress in English tests (i.e. without intervention) is +3.0.

The LTE primary classes’ average gain exceeded that of the comparison classes by +2.45 (= almost 10 months).

The LTE secondary classes’ average gain exceeded that of the comparison classes by +2.9 (= 11+ months).

The LTE classes therefore made almost double the progress on one year or less than the comparison classes.

The teachers also assessed their teaching as much improved in every respect – see Teacher Efficacy Survey [PDF document].

Ofsted. When Ofsted observe an LTE lesson, they are highly complimentary about pupil engagement and the quality of learning evidenced by the lesson.

What Ofsted says:

In a Year 7 English lesson, pupils were challenged to generate their own hypothesis about language and draw on quotes to back up their ideas. The teacher’s skilful questioning motivated and challenged all pupils and their excitement in the class discussion and debate was tangible.

Pupils were challenged to discuss their ideas about a story based on very limited information. Skilful questioning probed pupils’ understanding and engaged them in quite a sophisticated debate which developed their critical thinking very well.