Thinking, Doing, Talking Science (TDTS) aims to make science lessons in primary schools more practical, creative and challenging by training teachers in a number of strategies to encourage pupils to use higher order thinking skills.
The project has been funded and evaluated by the Education Endowment Foundation and has been created and is being delivered by Science Oxford, in partnership with Oxford Brookes University.
It was first developed and evaluated during 2013-15 with 42 Oxfordshire primary schools in what is called an efficacy trial. This trial showed that overall, pupils in schools using the TDTS approach made approximately three months progress in science. The programme had a particularly positive effect on girls and on pupils with lower prior attainment. There were indications that the approach had most impact on pupils eligible for free school meals. As a result of this success the EEF have funded our TDTS team to carry out an effectiveness trial in over 200 schools across the country.
Evaluation of this latest trial finds “the available evidence indicates that the programme can be implemented at scale through a train-the-trainers model, that it is valued by teachers exposed to the programme, and it changes their teaching practices in a manner consistent with the hypothesis.”
The evaluation showed that all pupils’ interest in, and self-efficacy towards, science increased. TDTS made a small impact on progress among children eligible for school meals although there was no apparent impact across the whole sample when the programme was tested at scale. The EEF classifies TDTS as a low cost intervention. The report is available here.
We continue to see far-reaching, lasting impacts in the schools that worked with us in the trials and in subsequent Strategic School Improvement Fund projects in Essex and Herefordshire.
The 4-day TDTS programme continues to be delivered with courses currently running in Cumbria, Essex, Oxford, Kent and Stoke-on-Trent. TDTS remains one of the EEF’s promising projects and a re-effectiveness trial funded by the EEF is due to take place during 2021-23.
For more information about TDTS and the evidence for its impact please visit tdts.org.uk.