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Stop and Think Evaluation

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) have asked the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) to evaluate Stop and Think, a software programme that uses quizzes and games to help pupils learn counterintuitive concepts in science and maths.

Our evaluation will help the EEF and the developers of the programme (Birkbeck University) to assess how effective it is. We want to understand what impact the programme has to Year 3 and Year 5 pupils’ science and maths attainment and common misconceptions. We also want to understand how Stop and Think is delivered in schools and how well it works to run the programme with a large number of pupils.

Who is carrying out the research?

This research is being carried out by NatCen Social Research.

NatCen is the UK’s leading independent social research agency. We are proud to have been carrying out research on behalf of government, charities and other organisations for nearly 50 years. We conduct several studies in schools every year and are expert at research with pupils and teachers.

We are a non-profit organisation, independent of government departments and political parties.

What will taking part involve?


Delivery of the Stop and Think programme will be randomised so that all Year 3 classes or all Year 5 classes in a school use the computer programme in science and maths lessons.

All schools in the evaluation will be asked to:

  • share the full names, Unique Pupil Numbers, dates of birth, Free School Meal eligibility and class names of all pupils in Year 3 and Year 5 in Autumn 2021
  • support all Year 3 and Year 5 teachers to complete a short online survey in Spring 2022
  • facilitate science and maths tests with Year 3 and Year 5 in Spring/Summer 2022

Some schools will be asked to facilitate:

  • teacher and pupil focus groups between Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022
  • lesson observations between Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022


All Year 3 and Year 5 pupils in participating schools will be asked to complete short, age-appropriate tests in maths or science in the Spring of 2022. They will do this as part of normal classroom teaching.

Some children whose teachers have been using the Stop and Think programme will also be invited to take part in a focus group or interview to understand what they think of it. Parents of these children will be contacted separately to provide consent for this closer to the time.

Parents/carers who do not want their child’s information to be used in the evaluation can contact their teacher.

What will happen to any information I give?

We will share general findings from the evaluation with the EEF on an ongoing basis throughout the 2021/22 academic year. At the end of the programme, we will write a report to the EEF that will be published online. We will not use any names, school names or any information that could identify individual staff or pupils in any of discussions with the EEF or in the final report.

Data from the evaluation will be shared with academics at Birkbeck University for the purposes of further scientific study and with the Department for Education, the Office for National Statistics and the Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) archive manager, FFT Education. This data will be pseudonymised, which means that any information that might identify an individual teacher or pupil will be removed before the data is shared with the other organisations.

Further information can be found in our privacy notice.

Contact us

You can contact the NatCen research team on 0808 1640 397 or at


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