Condition category
Not Applicable
Date applied
22/09/2017
Date assigned
02/10/2017
Last edited
27/09/2017
Prospective/Retrospective
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Ongoing
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
This study will test the impact of a game-based approach to whole-class teaching, developed by researchers at the University of Bristol and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), which uses uncertain rewards for correct answers. Questions, posed using an online platform, are integrated with class teaching in Year 8 science lessons, and students work in teams to answer these. The study explores three approaches to learning content: game-based (questions with uncertain rewards, where points are awarded for correct answers but teams can choose whether to keep their points or to risk doubling or losing them based on the chance spin of a wheel); test-based (questions with fixed rewards, i.e. a pre-determined number of points for being correct) and conventional teaching (teacher’s usual practice). Although the points are not linked to any material reward, the state of heightened excitement over whether or not pupils will gain or lose points in the “uncertain rewards” condition may increase their receptivity to learning.

Who can participate?
Year 8 students at schools where at least 20% of students receive free school meals

What does the study involve?
Year 8 science classes are randomly allocated to one of three groups: game-based approach, test-based approach, or conventional teaching. Participating year 8 students are tested before the intervention begins and at the end of the intervention (summer term 2017) with the Progress in Science Test.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Participants may benefit from potentially improving their attainment in science. There are no notable risks involved with taking part in this study.

Where is the study run from?
The study is run from York Trials Unit (Department of Health Sciences, University of York) and takes place in secondary schools located within the UK.

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
December 2014 to March 2018

Who is funding the study?
Education Endowment Foundation (UK)

Who is the main contact?
Louise Elliott
louise.elliott@york.ac.uk

Trial website

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/our-work/projects/engaging-the-brains-reward-system/

Contact information

Type

Public

Primary contact

Mrs Louise Elliott

ORCID ID

Contact details

York Trials Unit
Department of Health Sciences
University of York
York
YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number

ClinicalTrials.gov number

Protocol/serial number

2

Study information

Scientific title

Independent evaluation of Sci-napse: engaging the brain's reward system - a three-armed within-school randomised controlled trial

Acronym

Study hypothesis

Testing the impact of game-based rewards in secondary school science classes.

The trial is designed to establish:
1. The impact of the game-based teaching versus conventional teaching on academic achievement in science?
2. The impact of the test-based teaching versus conventional teaching on academic achievement in science?
3. The impact of the game-based teaching versus test-based teaching on academic achievement in science?
4. How the two approaches are enacted and received in the classroom, and how this compares with “business as usual”?

Ethics approval

School of Education, University of York, 08/12/2015, ref: 15/039

Study design

Three-armed within-school randomised controlled trial

Primary study design

Interventional

Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting

Schools

Trial type

Treatment

Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use contact details to request a participant information sheet

Condition

Pupils in Year 8 science lessons

Intervention

A minimum of three classes were recruited in each school. Classes within schools were randomised 1:1:1 using block randomisation with a block size of 3 to ensure balance as far as possible of the three allocations within each school.

This project will test the impact of a game-based approach to whole-class teaching, developed by researchers at the University of Bristol and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), which uses uncertain rewards for correct answers. Questions, posed using an online platform, will be integrated with class teaching in Year 8 science lessons, and students will work in teams to answer these. The study will explore three approaches to learning content:
Intervention 1: game-based. Questions with uncertain rewards, where points are awarded for correct answers but teams can choose whether to keep their points or to risk doubling or losing them based on the chance spin of a wheel
Intervention 2: test-based. Questions with fixed rewards, i.e. a pre-determined number of points for being correct
Intervention 3: conventional teaching, teacher’s usual practice

Intervention type

Other

Phase

Drug names

Primary outcome measures

Attainment in science, measured using the GL Assessment Progress Test in Science (PTS13) at baseline (before the intervention begins) and at the end of the intervention (summer term 2017)

Secondary outcome measures

No secondary outcome measures

Overall trial start date

01/12/2014

Overall trial end date

31/03/2018

Reason abandoned

Eligibility

Participant inclusion criteria

1. State secondary schools around Manchester and Bristol
2. At least half of the recruited schools should have 20% or more pupils with FSM
3. A minimum of 3 year 8 classes available to take part in the evaluation

Participant type

Other

Age group

Child

Gender

Both

Target number of participants

Main trial: 64 schools, 9600 pupils

Participant exclusion criteria

Schools that have not participated in the Sci-napse pilot trial

Recruitment start date

01/01/2015

Recruitment end date

30/09/2016

Locations

Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

York Trials Unit
University of York
York
YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

Sponsor information

Organisation

University of York

Sponsor details

Research Innovation Office
Innovation Centre
York Science Park
Innovation Way
Heslington
York
YO10 5DG
United Kingdom

Sponsor type

University/education

Website

Funders

Funder type

Charity

Funder name

Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype

Location

Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

1. Protocol can be found at: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/our-work/projects/engaging-the-brains-reward-system/
2. Publication of a final report by the Education Endowment Foundation and openly available on their website (Summer 2018)

IPD sharing statement
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study will be deposited in the EEF Data Archive (in association with the Fischer Family Trust). Enquiries to FFT’s Datalab can be made via educationdatalab@fft.org.uk.

Intention to publish date

01/06/2018

Participant level data

Stored in repository

Results - basic reporting

Publication summary

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes