Understanding the Impact of Educational Interventions Beyond Test Scores
16 March 2021
This project, being conducted by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) and funded by ADR UK, will use linked data to establish whether programmes intended to boost children’s educational attainment also have a positive impact on other related outcomes, such as a child’s likelihood of dropping out of school.
To do this, BIT will analyse a dataset linking educational interventions funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to other outcomes recorded in sources such as the National Pupil Database (NPD) . As well as addressing specific questions about the impact of educational interventions beyond test scores, the project will help inform how linked administrative data can be used to more robustly evaluate government-funded programmes across other departments and policy areas. This will help ensure tax-payers’ money is spent effectively, in line with the UK Government’s renewed focus on robust evidence as signaled by the announcement of its new Evaluation Task Force.
For this project, BIT is working with the EEF, Fischer Family Trust, Department for Education (DfE) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to link together data from different sources including:
- Data from previously completed, high quality randomised controlled trials of educational interventions funded by the EEF.
- The NPD, held by DfE, which holds a wide range of information about students who attend schools and colleges in England.
What is the potential of this newly linked data?
In the past, the EEF data has been analysed to see if the interventions in question were successful in increasing educational attainment. However, by linking it to other sources of data such as the NPD, it may also have the potential to tell us more about other impacts these programmes may have had on other outcomes for children.
Key questions this newly linked dataset could help to address include:
- What is the effect of educational interventions on fixed-term and permanent exclusions?
- What is the effect of educational interventions on school attendance in the term following the intervention?
- What is the effect of behaviour-based interventions on the likelihood of a child being placed in care or receiving ‘child in need’ status?
- What is the effect of educational interventions on dropping out of school?
In the longer term, this work could set an important precedent for the use of linked administrative data to improve the evaluation of programmes across government.
In November 2022, the project team published a report on reanalysing education experiments with linked administrative data.
- Project lead: Alex Sutherland, Behavioural Insights Team
- Funded value: This work is one phase of a wider programme of work being undertaken by the Behavioural Insights Team to address existing barriers to data linkage, with a total funded value of £318,050
- Duration: March 2020 – December 2021
This project is funded via the ADR UK Strategic Hub Fund, a dedicated fund for commissioning research using newly linked administrative data.