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Evaluation of Project Success

Phones
Published: May 2020

Project Success aimed to use text messages to improve GCSE English and/maths re-sit pass rates.

Aim

Project Success aimed to use text messages to improve GCSE English and/maths re-sit pass rates by prompting students to attend classes and exams, engage with study materials and form better study habits, either through direct contact with the learner or through prompting a dialogue with a nominated study supporter, e.g. a family member.

Findings

There is no evidence that the Project Success interventions had any impact on the GCSE English or maths resit pass rate or on the attendance of further education college students. Furthermore, receiving text messages did not have an impact on the GCSE re-sit pass rate by gender or by eligibility for free school meals. The subject being re-examined or the number of re-sits being taken also did not lead to differential effects from the intervention.

Methodology

The text messages were targeted at 3,779 further education college students aged between 16 and 18 years and who were re-sitting maths and/or English across 31 further education colleges. Over the course of the academic year, a total of 36/37 weekly text messages were sent to students and/or their study supporters. The trial randomly assigned the students to one of 4 different groups: student received text messages; study supporter received text messages; both student and study supporter received text messages; and control (no text messages).

Alongside the impact evaluation, a mixed-methods implementation and process evaluation (IPE) was carried out, which included: a short online survey of students; an observation of a tutor workshop; and interviews with college project and subject leads, study supporters and students. The trial started in September 2017 and concluded in October 2019 with the intervention being delivered throughout the academic year 2017/2018.

Download from EEF website