Dr Mary McAteer: Evaluation of ECC keep-up/catch-up programme

The Every Child Counts (ECC) team delivers a range of training to teachers and teaching assistants in relation to mathematics and literacy support for children. Dr Mary McAteer, working with Victoria Grinyer evaluated the Intervention training programme, which is designed to enable teachers who are using Mastery teaching in mathematics to quickly diagnose and remediate any challenges pupils face within a lesson.

Intervention in the Mastery Context aims to provide:

a comprehensive professional development programme to support schools, teachers and TAs at various stages of their adoption of a mastery approach to teaching mathematics. The programme draws on the extensive experience gained by ECC since 2008 during which time well over 100,000 struggling learners have been helped to catch up with their peers. IMC is not only based on the lessons learned from successfully working with so many learners but also with the thousands of teachers and TAs who have received professional development from ECC.

The training programme is designed as a series of three days of taught input, separated from each other by approximately 1 month, during which participants undertake gap tasks which include shared paired discussions of resources, reading specific materials, and undertaking classroom-based tasks. Participant are informed that the key aims of the programme are improving:

  • the outcomes for learners who need keep up
  • the management and development of keep up support
  • approaches to supporting/ developing the practice of colleagues
  • the skills needed to support learners who have difficulties in a mastery context.

Because those children who require ‘keep-up’ intervention will almost certainly change from lesson to lesson, at this stage, the focus of the research was on the teachers’ own learning development and practice.

This project was designed as an evaluative case study (Yin 2011, Stake 1995) in which the research team conducted a series of observations, focus group discussions and interviews during, and 3 months after the training programme.  The team aimed to explore the extent to which the training programme transforms practice through imparting new knowledge and skills. Thus, the key research questions related to teachers own improved ability to:

  • diagnose the ‘struggling child’ in situ
  • design and implement effective remediation for these children.

The team has delivered their final report:
2017: McAteer, M. and Grinyer, V. Every Child Counts – Intervention in a Mastery Context: Evaluation Report.