ReflectED Metacognition Evaluation report: An approach to improving learning skills using digital technology

Gary Motteram, Sophina Choudry, Afroditi Kalambouka, Amanda Barton, Graeme Hutcheson, Zeynep Onat-Stelma, Joanna Bragg

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The ReflectED programme was developed by Rosendale Primary School to improve pupils’ metacognition—their ability to think about and manage their own learning. This includes the skills of setting and monitoring goals, assessing progress, and identifying personal strengths and challenges. ReflectED consists of 28, weekly, half-hour lessons, which teach pupils strategies they can use to
monitor and manage their own learning. Pupils are supported to apply and practise these strategies throughout the rest of the curriculum; reflect on their learning; and record audio, photographed and written notes of their reflections on Evernote, a note-taking app. Pupils are then encouraged to review and reflect on these records over time, so that they can observe their progress and consider which strategies seemed to work well. Teachers can also look across these records to get an overview of the areas that pupils are enjoying or struggling with, and identify specific pupil needs. For example, a teacher could explore the notes that a pupil has tagged as “maths” and “difficult” to see which ones
they struggled with, and examine which strategies seemed to help them with this.
In this project, Rosendale Primary School trained teachers from 30 schools in five areas throughout England to deliver ReflectED over the academic year 2014/15. At the beginning of the year, participating teachers received a pack of lesson plans and supporting resources, and an initial day long training session. This was followed by three additional half-day training sessions throughout the
year. A website, digital resources, and weekly reminders and tips were provided by the London Connected Learning Centre. The National Education Trust supported school recruitment and test administration. The programme was co-funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), KPMG Foundation and Nominet Trust, and was part of a funding round focused on digital technology.
The impact of the programme on the attainment of pupils in Year 5 was evaluated using a randomised control trial involving 1858 pupils. Year 5 teachers within each of the 30 schools were randomly allocated to either participate in the programme or to a control group which continued with their usual teaching. The primary outcome measure was pupils’ maths attainment. The evaluation also examined the impact on pupil’s reading attainment and attitudes towards reading and maths, and the impact on the maths attainment of pupils eligible for free school meals. Class observations, interviews and focus groups were conducted to examine how the programme was implemented and adapted by teachers, explore activity in the control group, and identify factors that might affect the impact of the programme.

The close involvement of the original developer in the delivery of the programme means that this was an efficacy trial. Efficacy trials aim to test whether the intervention can succeed under ideal conditions.
Original languageEnglish
TypeReflected Metacognition
Media of outputWeb
PublisherEducation Endowment Foundation
Number of pages52
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2016


  • Metacognition
  • RCT
  • Primary school
  • Evaluation


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