The 'toolkit' is a kind of consumer guide to educational interventions
The 'toolkit' is a kind of consumer guide to educational interventions

Source: Education Endowment Foundation

Tackling corona deprivation: 'Focus on interaction between teacher and student'

Measures that improve the interaction between pupil and teacher are the most promising in combating educational disadvantage. 'Dùh', says the English researcher who discovered this connection.

Pupils in the Netherlands - just like in other countries - have fallen behind considerably because education during corona could not be of the usual quality. Dutch schools will receive the coming years 8,5 billion to eliminate those backlogs as well as possible.

Each school can, with the consent of the teachers through the participation council, make its own choices about how this money is used, the ministry explains in a Frequently Asked Questions. The school can choose from a 'menu' of measures that have been proven to be effective in eliminating backlogs. The Ministry of Education will distribute this menu at the end of April.

'Naturally everything revolves around the interaction between student and teacher: after all, that is the core of education'

The map is based on the English Teaching and learning tool kit of the British knowledge institute Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). The toolkit is a kind of consumer guide in which more than thirty measures to combat backlog are discussed. The results are easy to search for effectiveness (measured in months of learning gain), costs and how strong the evidence is for these two variables.


The measure that has the most effect in combating educational disadvantage is feedback for students - for example, on mistakes made or on the learning process. This yields no less than 8 months of learning gain. In second place is 'metacognition', in which teachers allow students to reflect on their learning process (7 months learning gain), and more attention to reading comprehension (6 months learning gain).

This outcome gave Professor Steve Higgins, former teacher and creator of the toolkit, a 'Homer Simpson moment'. "Duh," Higgings explains in one movie on the website of the toolkit. 'Of course everything revolves around the interaction between pupil and teacher: after all, that is the core of education.'

Sit down

At the bottom of the toolkit's rankings is the setting of level groups per subject (cheap, but instead of a learning gain it results in a learning loss of one month) and the last thing is. This is enormously expensive and causes an average of four months of learning loss.

Incidentally, the toolkit is not a recipe, but a tool, says Higgings. 'It's about averages. If we find no evidence that a measure generally has no effect, it does not mean that this measure will not work at your school either - or that it will not be counterproductive. '

School scan

The Dutch menu, which the ministry will make available at the end of April, will in any case give schools the space to make their own choices. In a 'school scan', schools first map out the needs of the pupils, and then can choose measures from the menu to eliminate the backlog. Before the summer holidays, plans must be drawn up to tackle the backlog. The participation council has the right of consent in this regard.

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