Condition category
Not Applicable
Date applied
26/02/2019
Date assigned
06/03/2019
Last edited
04/03/2019
Prospective/Retrospective
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Ongoing
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
SMART Spaces revision programme is an intervention that uses spaced learning to revise chemistry for AQA GCSE double (or combined) award examinations. Evidence from neuroscience and cognitive psychology indicates that including spaces, time intervals, between learning sessions can improve factual recall. It is anticipated that improved factual recall will have a positive impact on the application and analysis as well as knowledge elements of the chemistry score in GCSE double award science. The aim of this study is to see whether the programme improves pupils’ performance on the chemistry element of the AQA GCSE double award science.

Who can participate?
Secondary school pupils in Year 11 studying AQA double award GCSE science in the academic year 2018/19.

What does the study involve?
Participating schools are randomly allocated into two groups. The control group is business as usual. In the intervention group schools, science teachers receive training to deliver the SMART Spaces revision programme and implement the programme in science lessons with their Year 11 pupils. The programme consists of six lessons delivered over two weeks and is designed to space the revision of content both between and within lessons. The chemistry topics for AQA Paper 1 are covered in one SMART Spaces lesson. This lesson is repeated three times in the same week, with spaces which allow pupils a night-time sleep between lessons. After at least one further night-time sleep, but ideally the following week, the process is repeated for content associated with AQA Paper 2. Within lessons, chemistry topics are revised using the SMART spaces materials in three short sessions of approximately 12 minutes with 10-minute spaces between each topic. During the 10-minute spaces, pupils take part in a sensorimotor activity (such as juggling). Pupils’ results in their Key Stage 2 English and Mathematics tests are collected at the start of the study and in their GCSE Chemistry examinations at the end of the study as measures of attainment.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Pupils in the intervention group will receive the SMART Spaces revision programme, with the potential to improve their performance in GCSE Chemistry. The control group is business as usual. As such, there should be no risks in participating in the trial.

Where is the study run from?
1. 125 secondary schools in England are taking part in the trial. 50 of these schools have been randomly allocated to the treatment group and will deliver the intervention to eligible pupils.
2. Queen’s University Belfast, in partnership with the Hallam Teaching School Alliance, will train teachers to deliver the intervention.
3. University College London Institute of Education will independently evaluate the trial.

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
March 2018 to July 2020

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

Who is the main contact?
1. Dr Nicola Bretscher (UCL Institute of Education)
ioe.smartspaces@ucl.ac.uk
2. Professor Jeremy Hodgen (UCL Institute of Education)
jeremy.hodgen@ucl.ac.uk
3. Dr Liam O’Hare (Queen’s University Belfast)
L.OHare@qub.ac.uk

Trial website

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects-and-evaluation/projects/smart-spaces/

Contact information

Type

Public

Primary contact

Dr Nicola Bretscher

ORCID ID

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1226-4025

Contact details

UCL Institute of Education
University College London
20 Bedford Way
London
WC1H 0AL
United Kingdom
+44 (0)207 331 5194
ioe.smartspaces@ucl.ac.uk

Type

Scientific

Additional contact

Prof Jeremy Hodgen

ORCID ID

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9196-4088

Contact details

UCL Institute of Education
University College London
20 Bedford Way
London
WC1H 0AL
United Kingdom
+44 (0)207 612 6464
jeremy.hodgen@ucl.ac.uk

Type

Scientific

Additional contact

Dr Liam O'Hare

ORCID ID

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4453-2880

Contact details

Queen’s University Belfast
004 69-71 University St
Belfast
BT7 1LN
United Kingdom
+44 (0)28 9097 5973
L.OHare@qub.ac.uk

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number

Nil known

ClinicalTrials.gov number

Nil known

Protocol/serial number

Nil known

Study information

Scientific title

An efficacy trial of the SMART Spaces revision programme, investigating the effect of the intervention on students' attainment in the chemistry element of GCSE double award science: a two-arm randomised controlled trial

Acronym

SMART Spaces

Study hypothesis

The evaluation will address the following primary research question:
1. What is the size of the effect of the SMART Spaces intervention on pupils’ attainment in the chemistry element of GCSE ‘double award’ science when compared to a business-as-usual control, and is the effect practically distinguishable from a null effect?
In addition, the evaluation will address the following secondary research questions:
2. What is the size of the effect of the SMART Spaces intervention on pupils’ attainment in GCSE ‘double award’ science when compared to a business-as-usual control, and is the effect practically distinguishable from a null effect?
3. What is the size of the effect of the SMART Spaces intervention on pupils’ attainment in the assessment objectives constituting the chemistry element of GCSE ‘double award’ science (knowledge, application and working scientifically) when compared to a business-as-usual control, do the size of the effects differ for the difference objectives, and are the effects practically distinguishable from a null effect?
4. What is the size of the effect of the SMART Spaces intervention on the attainment of pupils eligible for free school meals compared to other pupils, and is the effect practically distinguishable from either a null effect or the effect on pupils’ attainment in general?
5. Are the effects on attainment practically distinguishable for girls and boys?

In the associated implementation and process evaluation, the researchers will address the following research questions:
6. Was SMART Spaces implemented with fidelity in the trial, and to what extent can SMART Spaces be implemented with fidelity in a scaled-up version of the intervention?
7. Are there any barriers to implementation?
8. What role do heads of science play in facilitating implementation?
9. What are the most and least effective aspects of training teachers to deliver SMART Spaces with fidelity?
10. Do teachers and heads of science, perceive SMART Spaces to be a useful and engaging approach to revision?
11. To what extent does teacher engagement affect the quality of delivery and pupil responsiveness?
12. (a) Do teachers trial the spaced lessons before the intervention and do they practice or prepare in any other way? (b) Do they adopt spaced learning in other chemistry revision lessons?
13. (a) To what extent do teachers adapt the materials and approach? (b) In what ways do teachers and schools adapt their approach to science revision as a result of SMART Spaces?
14. (a) Are all pupils responsive to SMART Spaces and does it have reach: do all pupils perceive it to be an engaging and beneficial approach to revision? (b) What contributes to pupil engagement (or disengagement)?
15. Do some pupils adopt spacing practice within their own revision practices?
16. To what extent is SMART spaces distinguishable from ‘business as usual’ revision practice in schools?
17. To what extent does the logic model adequately describe the mechanism by which the SMART Spaces intervention effected change (if any)?

Ethics approval

1. Approved 30/04/2018 by UCL IOE Research Ethics Committee, Ethics and Engagement & Impact, UCL Institute of Education, Room 525, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL, Tel: +44 (0)20 7 6126242, Email: ioe.researchethics@ucl.ac.uk, ref: REC1052 and data protection registration number: Z6364106/2018/03/25 social research
2. Approved 11/04/2018 by SSESW, QUB Research Ethics Committee, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, 69/71 University Street, Belfast, BT7 1HL, Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 3041/5906, Email: ssesw@qub.ac.uk

Study design

Interventional cluster randomised trial

Primary study design

Interventional

Secondary study design

Cluster randomised trial

Trial setting

Schools

Trial type

Other

Patient information sheet

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

Condition

15 – 16 year old pupils in Year 11 studying AQA double award GCSE science

Intervention

Participants are clustered into 125 schools divided between two arms with 50 in the intervention arm vs. 75 in business-as-usual control.

1. SMART Spaces Chemistry Revision programme. The intervention consists of two elements: training for teachers to deliver the SMART Spaces revision programme and implementation of the programme in science lessons.
2. Control: schools will continue with “business as usual”, revising chemistry using their normal approaches.

All teachers who will deliver SMART Spaces programme are trained in a half-day training session, which includes a demonstration of part of a SMART Spaces lesson and a chance to try out delivery in a trial run and get initial feedback. In addition, all schools will receive a manual and video at the training session.

The SMART Spaces programme consists of six lessons delivered over two weeks. The chemistry topics for AQA Paper 1 are covered in one SMART Spaces lesson. This lesson is repeated on three separate days, over a minimum of three days and a maximum of a week, providing spaces which allow pupils a period of sleep between content repetitions. After at least one further sleep, but ideally the following week, the process is repeated for content associated with AQA Paper 2. In a SMART Spaces lesson, chemistry topics are revised using the SMART spaces materials in three short sessions of approximately 12 minutes with 10-minute spaces between each topic. During the 10-minute spaces, pupils take part in a sensorimotor activity from a menu of suitable activities, including juggling.

Intervention type

Behavioural

Phase

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Year 11 pupils’ attainment in chemistry measured by their raw scores in the chemistry element of GCSE ‘double award’ science in May/June 2019

Secondary outcome measures

1. Science attainment in AQA GCSE Double Award Science, based on Uniform Marking Scale scores rather than numerical grades, in May 2019
2. The knowledge, application and analysis assessment objectives sub-scales for the Chemistry element of AQA GCSE Double Award Science, a continuous numerical variable based on item-by-item mark data, in May 2019

Overall trial start date

01/03/2018

Overall trial end date

31/07/2020

Reason abandoned (if study stopped)

Eligibility

Participant inclusion criteria

Pupils must be in Year 11 in the academic year 2018/19 and enrolled in AQA GCSE double award science

Participant type

Other

Age group

Child

Gender

Both

Target number of participants

12500

Participant exclusion criteria

Pupils not enrolled for AQA GCSE double science or attending schools which are participating in another EEF GCSE science randomised trial

Recruitment start date

01/04/2018

Recruitment end date

01/12/2018

Locations

Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

UCL Institute of Education
University College London 20 Bedford Way
London
WC1H 0AL
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Queen’s University Belfast
004 69-71 University St
Belfast
BT7 1LN
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Hallam Teaching School Alliance
Notre Dame High School Fulwood Road
Sheffield
S10 3BT
United Kingdom

Sponsor information

Organisation

Education Endowment Foundation

Sponsor details

9th Floor
Millbank Tower
21-24 Millbank
London
SW1P 4QP
United Kingdom
+44 (0)207 802 1676
info@eefoundation.org.uk

Sponsor type

Charity

Website

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk

Funders

Funder type

Charity

Funder name

Education Endowment Foundation

Alternative name(s)

EEF

Funding Body Type

private sector organisation

Funding Body Subtype

foundation

Location

United Kingdom

Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

The aims and methods for the study are described in the evaluation protocol for the project, which is published on the Education Endowment Foundation’s website: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/EEF_Project_Protocol_SMARTSpacesrevisiontrial.pdf A detailed statistical analysis plan will be published in Spring 2019.

Outcomes of the project will be publicly reported through an EEF evaluation report (expected publication date July 2020) and subsequent academic publications in high-impact peer-reviewed journals.

IPD sharing statement
At the end of the trial, participant-level data will be deposited in the Education Endowment Foundation's (EEF) data archive, one month after the EEF evaluation report is published (expected publication date July 2020). This archive is managed by the Fischer Family Trust (FFT), the EEF’s data processor, and will be stored on the Secure Research Service (SRS) operated by the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS). The dataset will be stored in a pseudonymised form and will include pupil and teacher demographic, test and survey data. The dataset will only be available through the SRS to approved researchers via ONS operated safe rooms or other ONS approved settings. ONS-approved researchers will be able to apply to access the dataset via the FFT. Participants, and pupils' parents, were provided with information about data storage and processing at the start of the trial and were given an opportunity to withdraw their data. Details of the ONS SRS are available here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/aboutus/whatwedo/paidservices/virtualmicrodatalaboratoryvml

Intention to publish date

31/07/2020

Participant level data

Stored in repository

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

04/03/2019: Trial's existence confirmed by the University College London and Queen’s University Belfast ethics committees.