The Educational Foundation For Organised and Focused Formation (EFFOFF) has just released a comprehensive study that reaches a staggering conclusion. English primary pupils have progressed MORE at home since March than they would otherwise have done in school.
A random sample of two thousand Y6 pupils, from across the country and representing a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds, was given the SATs tests in mid-May and these results were compared with the national averages from 2019. The results baffled the researchers.
In Maths, the average scaled score was 109.56, a full +4.9 higher than last year. In Reading, it was 110.34, up +3.98 and in Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling, it was up +2.96.
The director of EFFOFF, Martine D’Arcy-Longstaff, is as surprised as anyone at the findings.
‘This is certainly not what we were expecting. This calls into question so many of our assumptions, and certainly merits further investigation. The consequences for government policy around the world could be incredibly significant.’
All of the two thousand participants had been out of school since March 20th and, whilst all had received support from their schools during the lockdown, none had received any specific training for the tests. None of the pupils returned to school before the summer holiday.
The study has met with an excited response from educationalists, many of whom argue that the concept of school could now be obsolete. They argue that, far from supporting children’s cognitive development, schools interrupt it and this can be confusing for children. Advocates of direct online tuition are also highly encouraged with the results, arguing that a 1:1 dynamic between pupil and algorithm is the future for high performance learning.
Dr Karl Determinant, of the Institute for Educational Policy in Wheathampstead, and co-chair of the #EdResearchOnline, is convinced this could lead to a fundamental re-thinking of the nature of schools.
‘This study gives us a glimpse into the future where artificial intelligence and machine thinking can provide students with a formal education, leaving a looser concept of schools to develop a range of twenty-first century skills, fit for the technological age.’
The study has also piqued the interest of the government, where an unnamed source was heard to admit,
’We’ve always said it’s actually a hierarchy of controls – the key elements of reducing the amount of transmission points and the actions to reduce the vectors of transmission that creates safety for pupils and staff.’
Plans are in place to roll out a series of similar experiments over the autumn when all pupils return to schools. Samples of up to ten thousand children in Years 1, 4, 9 and 11 will sit a series of carefully compiled tests to find out if there is a similar trend. If the same conclusion is reached, the whole future of schools may be under question.
However, not everyone is elated with the research.
There has been a sceptical response from teaching unions who want to know more about how the two thousand pupils were chosen.
‘We think this was a stitch-up, deliberately manufactured to the detriment of our members. The sample was not representative and the study is not accurate as a result.’
Furthermore, there are some emerging concerns about the administration of the tests. One of the two thousand pupils spoke to us off the record.
‘I did the test in the kitchen. If I didn’t know the answer, I just asked my Mum and Dad.’
EFFOFF declined to respond.