Both Ofsted and EEF recently identified Let’s Think (previously known as Cognitive Acceleration in Maths Education, CAME) as an effective approach to mathematics teaching. EEF notes the large and long-lasting effect sizes with Y1-2 pupils.
Let’s Think (LT) began as a research project at King’s College University. Numerous research papers over thirty-years have shown the effects of LT to be:
- permanent: do not fade with time (Shayer, 2003; Shayer and Adhami, 2010)
- across subjects: not confined to the subject they address (Shayer, 2003; Shayer and Adhami, 2010)
- proven to have a statistically significant effect with even moderate use (Adhami, 2002; Adey, Robertson and Venville, 2002)
Whilst there is extensive research to demonstrate LT’s impact on pupils over 5, there has not been any research into the impact on Reception. The activities described in this proposed evaluation were tested by Adey, Robertson and Venville (2002) on Y1 pupils from similar inner-city deprived contexts. Results showed a significant effect on pupils’ cognitive development (Piagetian reasoning tests). No particular social/language group made a greater or lesser gain. The professional development programme enabled teachers to ‘generate well-managed cognitive conflict and scaffold social construction’ (2002:21).
This research project, fully funded by The Institute for Effective Education, will enable four schools to test the following research questions:
- What impact does the teaching of 30 LT activities over one year have on the general reasoning level and EYFS outcomes for Reception children :
- when compared to control pupils in intervention classes?
- when compared to control pupils in control classes?
- Also, is there an impact on control pupils in intervention classes when compared to control pupils in control classes?
- Sub-question: What impact does participation in a LT Maths professional development programme have on teacher’s knowledge, confidence and practice?
In line with EEF and Ofsted evidence, LT activities are guided activities for small groups, complementing rather than replacing the maths curriculum for Reception. Specifically designed for 4-5 year olds, they are usually conducted weekly over one year with groups of 5-6 mixed achievers. This group size is important to the collaborative nature of the talk, as is the mixed achievement composition of the group. The activities are talk-based, beginning with introducing key vocabulary, supporting children to use this vocabulary to solve a practical problem, and ending with a metacognitive discussion. The associated professional development programme develops teachers’ understanding of progression in mathematics and assessment skills.
The four participating schools are Alfred Salter, Charles Dickens, Ivydale and John Donne. The research project begins in September 2018 and runs until July 2019.