Condition category
Not Applicable
Date applied
25/08/2017
Date assigned
18/09/2017
Last edited
13/09/2017
Prospective/Retrospective
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Ongoing
Recruitment status
Recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
The intervention being tested is the Texting Students and Study Supporters programme (known as Project SUCCESS) developed by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). The intervention consists of 35 text messages a year sent to students resitting GCSE English and/or Maths and ‘study supporters’ (a peer or family member identified by the student). The aim is that the text messages, either through direct contact or via a dialogue with a study supporter, will prompt students to attend classes and exams, engage with study materials and form better study habits. The aim of this study is to understand in detail how the intervention is implemented and delivered, and, in turn, how, why and for whom it works.

Who can participate?
FE college students aged 16-19 resitting English or Maths GCSEs in the academic year 2017/18

What does the study involve?
Participants are randomly allocated to one of four groups:
1. Student receives text messages
2. Study supporter receives text messages
3. Both student and study supporter receive text messages
4. No text messages
Depending on which group they are allocated to, students and/or study supporters receive weekly text messages. These messages contain information on course content, academic resources such as practice websites, notifications about deadlines, details of extra tutorial sessions, and exam dates. College tutors at participating colleges tailor the text messages to ensure they are fully relevant for students in terms of the college timetable and local curriculum. Students and study supporters receive about 35 weekly messages. These are sent until students take their resit GCSE exams in June/July 2018.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The intervention is designed to inform and motivate students about their GCSE studies, leading to higher rates of attainment. Where the intervention involves a study supporter, the intervention is expected to increase interaction between students and an individual they are close to, generating feelings of being supported. Three quarters of students in a previous study felt that the intervention had a positive impact. There are no risks for participating students.

Where is the study run from?
NatCen Social Research (UK)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
February 2017 to April 2019

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

Who is the main contact?
Mr Peter Hall
peter.hall@natcen.ac.uk

Trial website

Contact information

Type

Public

Primary contact

Mr Peter Hall

ORCID ID

Contact details

NatCen
Northampton Square
London
EC1V 0AX
United Kingdom
+44 (0)207 549 7003
peter.hall@natcen.ac.uk

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number

ClinicalTrials.gov number

Protocol/serial number

NatCen REF P12295

Study information

Scientific title

Texting Students and Study Supporters programme: a randomised controlled trial

Acronym

Study hypothesis

A programme of tailored text messages, either through direct contact or via a dialogue with a study supporter, will prompt students to attend classes and exams, engage with study materials and form better study habits.

Ethics approval

NatCen Research Ethics Committee, 04/05/2017

Study design

Randomised controlled trial

Primary study design

Interventional

Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting

Other

Trial type

Other

Patient information sheet

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

Condition

GCSE resit attainment in Maths and English

Intervention

Students agreeing participate in the trial will be allocated to one of the three treatment arms or to the control group using stratified block randomisation. This means that all students who consent to take part in the trial will be randomised (in a block) as soon as baseline data has been collected.

Stratification variables should be predictive of outcomes; in this instance tutor group will be used as the stratification variable. Stratification ensures that no random variability exists within tutor groups – therefore the composition of the tutor groups exactly mirrors the participant population.

The students are randomised to one of four conditions/trial arms:
1. Student receives text messages
2. Study supporter receives text messages
3. Both student and study supporter receive text messages
4. Control (no text messages)

The intervention consists of 35 text messages a year sent to students resitting GCSE English and/or Maths and ‘study supporters’ (a family member or peer identified by the student). The aim is that the text messages, either through direct contact or via a dialogue with a study supporter, will prompt students to attend classes and exams, engage with study materials and form better study habits.

Dosage will be the same for recipients across all trial arms - i.e. students in arms 1 and 3 above will receive the same number of text messages (35), study supporters in arms 2 and 3 will receive the same number of text messages (35). These will be sent from the point of randomisation at the end of October 2017 until students take their resit GCSE exams in June/July 2018.

Intervention type

Other

Phase

Drug names

Primary outcome measures

GCSE resit attainment in Maths and English post-treatment, taken from the National Pupil Database (NPD) in autumn 2018 for all students who participated in the programme in the 2017/18 academic year

Secondary outcome measures

Students’ attendance, collected from colleges directly via a secure online platform on a daily basis from baseline through to completion of the intervention in June/July 2018

Other data on student aspirations, confidence and attitudes to learning will be recorded as part of a supporting process evaluation and do not constitute part of the impact evaluation

Overall trial start date

16/02/2017

Overall trial end date

30/04/2019

Reason abandoned

Eligibility

Participant inclusion criteria

Students are eligible to take part in the trial if they are:
1. Enrolled at a participating college in September 2017
2. Due to resit GCSE maths and/or English in the academic year 2017/18
3. Aged 16-19

Participant type

Other

Age group

Other

Gender

Both

Target number of participants

c. 3,750 (estimated)

Participant exclusion criteria

All potential participants (i.e. those meeting the eligibility criteria outlined) will complete a short online survey where they will consent or decline to take part in the trial. There are no characteristics as such that would exclude any otherwise eligible individuals from taking part.

Recruitment start date

04/09/2017

Recruitment end date

27/10/2017

Locations

Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Behavioural Insights Team
SW1H 9NP

Sponsor information

Organisation

Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)

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 (EEF)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype

Location

Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

The study protocol and analysis plan will be made available on the EEF website. Planned publication in a high-impact peer reviewed journal in April 2019.

IPD sharing statement
Anonymised (i.e. with no contact or other personal information) participant data will be stored in the Fischer Family Trust (FFT) archives. Data will include baseline survey responses, college attendance data and GCSE results data from the National Pupil Database. Students’ consent on data sharing and storage was sought as part of the trial registration process. Those who did not consent to have their anonymised results data stored as described were not included in the trial. Enquiries to FFT’s Datalab can be made via educationdatalab@fft.org.uk.

Intention to publish date

01/04/2019

Participant level data

Stored in repository

Results - basic reporting

Publication summary

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes