Thinking about how we learn: metacognition trial 2018

Following the success of a trial in 2013 that saw pupils make an additional four months progress in maths, Rosendale Primary School is now recruiting for a whole school metacognition research project starting next year – ReflectED 2018. Project managers Justine Paton and Rachael Gallagher detail the research and how you can get involved in the second trial.

What is ReflectED?

ReflectED is an approach to learning developed by Rosendale Primary School that teaches and develops children’s metacognition skills. It can support and improve attainment for all pupils by enhancing pupils’ ability to think about their learning, assess their progress, set and monitor goals, identify strengths and challenges in their learning and develop a learning dialogue between pupil and teacher. The approach involves weekly metacognition lessons that enable children to developed these skills and use them to reflect on their learning both in books and in a digital portfolio using SeeSaw. Inspired by research by professionals such as Carol Dweck and John Hattie, the approach aims to create a whole school culture of independent learners with a growth mindset.

For more information on ReflectED we have a short video that gives an overview.  

The Research

In 2013 Rosendale School, in partnership with the EEF, conducted a small-scale randomised study to identify whether a programme of metacognition lessons and reflecting on learning could improve educational outcomes for children. The study was conducted over 30 schools and looked at outcomes for Year 5 pupils primarily in maths, however reading and attitudinal scores were also taken.

This initial research showed that ReflectEd 2013 had a positive impact on children’s attainment. Pupils who participated in the study made an average of four months additional progress in maths compared with those who did not. The Education Endowment Fund also reported that not only did the children improve they also developed a more positive attitude to learning compared to the control group.

ReflectED 2018

Following the success of the initial trial, Rosendale Primary School is now carrying out a whole school efficacy trial of ReflectED once again sponsored by the Education Endowment Foundation. This will be a whole school approach and will run for 5 terms starting in February 2018.

We are recruiting 140 schools to take part in the trial – 70 of those will be control schools and 70 will be treatment schools that will implement the ReflectED approach across the whole school. Control schools will not be teaching the ReflectED lessons, but their data will be used to assess the impact of the trial. To measure its efficacy year 1 and 5 children will be assessed on their SATs results in 2019. Our hope is that the programme will have even more of an impact if delivered in this way.

What’s new in ReflectED 2018?

The longer trial time, five terms rather than three, will allow pupils to become more familiar with the process. Children will have more time to first develop and then utilise the metacognition skills they have learnt. Also, a whole school trial means that we will be able to create areas of focus for the whole school at particular times throughout the year, for example, all children learning about perseverance in the same week. This would allow for a more cohesive approach which could include assemblies and information to parents around a theme at particular points during the term. We have also carefully selected several metacognition and growth mindset texts for children which will become the basis of many lessons, this means the trial will have more of a literacy focus which will hopefully lead to improved outcomes in this area. Finally, school materials and lesson plans now have more of a cross-curricular approach so they can be easily slotted into already busy timetables.

Getting involved?

Any primary school can take part in this programme. Schools will receive high-quality training to teach one of their staff to be a ‘lead practitioner’ for ReflectED. The lead practitioner will be able to support and lead staff to implement the approach using accessible and exciting materials.

Treatment schools in the trial will have access to whole school plans and a large number of resources, training materials and videos. They will have personal support from Rosendale in setting up the approach in their school and will be part of network hubs with local schools. Treatment schools will receive £1,110 – this is to cover training costs such as release time for lead practitioners. They will also receive support with the cost of SeeSaw – visit to see how it works.

Control schools will receive all materials at the end of the trial, will be offered £250 on completion of their data and will be offered high quality CPD including a three day course with Marc Rowland and Kate Atkins on ‘Maximising the Impact of Pupil Premium’. The training, run through Rosendale Research School, will ensure attendees are very well placed to lead Pupil Premium in their schools and will provide schools with a number of resources to support them in narrowing the attainment gap.

If you would like further information about the trial, the original research or to have a chat about how it might work in your school, please email the team on [email protected] or contact Rachael on 07592 503056


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