Making teaching more impactful with the Pearson Efficacy Framework

As educators, our key role is to help our students learn. A bit of an obvious statement perhaps – but not so easy to realise. As the old adage goes, just because you teach, doesn’t mean learning is happening! How do we know that our teaching is having an impact on learning?

Is your teaching having the desired impact?

The first question we need to ask is: What are our students hoping to achieve by studying English? Understanding reasons for learning can help tap into your students’ motivations which in turn can help them make better progress towards their goals. We know that there is a direct correlation between the time you spend learning and the progress you make, so motivating students to spend time outside, as well as inside the class, is key. However, time on task does not have the biggest impact on learning. Research by the likes of John Hattie* shows that the key impact on student achievement actually comes from the teacher. So how can we monitor the success of what we, as teachers, do in order to ensure that we have the greatest impact on our students’ learning?

At Pearson we have asked ourselves this same question when it comes to creating products and services to support teaching and learning. Our mission is to make an impact on people’s lives through learning – which means creating products and services that themselves have the greatest impact on learning. We have put in place systems and frameworks to monitor the success of products – during the development process and after publication. This is what we call efficacy – measuring the impact of our products on learning.

How well aligned is your institution on delivering outcomes?

To support our efficacy initiative and to underpin our focus on helping students make progress, Pearson has developed the Efficacy Review Framework. This framework helps Pearson ensure we are creating products and services that will impact the learner outcomes that we have identified. But it can also support teachers and institutions in ensuring that they deliver on their own goals – and their students’ outcomes.

The Efficacy Review Framework is divided into four parts to provide a holistic picture of what is needed to impact outcomes:

  • Outcomes – what students are trying to achieve and how well you design your approach to meet those outcomes
  • Evidence – what evidence you collect and use to know you are having the desired impact
  • Planning and Implementation – how well you plan and make decisions aligned to the outcomes
  • Capacity to Deliver – whether you have the right resources in place to deliver the outcomes

By taking this rounded approach, institutions can align around their key learner outcomes and focus their strategy – and energy - on what is important for achieving those outcomes. This, in turn, will support efficient and effective learning.

A culture of continual improvement

Pearson’s Efficacy Review Framework will help you embed a culture of continual improvement across your institution. By having clear outcomes, explicit measures of success and a strategy for building evidence, you will be in a position to collect the data around impact. And this data will inevitably raise a number of questions: Why are some students being more successful than others? How can we improve consistency of progress across students? What can we do to help students make more progress?

Having the evidence will open up a whole new set of conversations that focus on learner impact.

The Efficacy Review Framework in action

Pearson products and services for English language students are all underpinned by the Global Scale of English – a proficiency scale and set of learning objectives that enable us to collect data to measure impact. As well as using the Global Scale of English and the Efficacy Review Framework to improve our products and services, we also encourage our customers and partners to use them to ensure they are delivering on learner outcomes. Some examples where this has been used to demonstrate progress and embed a culture of improvement outside of Pearson include:

  • Wall Street English language schools – as part of a complete revision of the Wall Street English courses, the team used the Global Scale of English to develop the new content and the Pearson Efficacy Framework to define outcomes and identify the evidence needed to show impact 
  • Panamá Bilingüe Program – this ambitious and wide-ranging project led by the government of Panama to support its population in becoming bilingual includes curriculum reform and teacher training. Global Scale of English learning objectives were used to inform the new English language curriculum and assessments reporting on the proficiency scale are being used to monitor progress and demonstrate the return on investment of the program
  • Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education – the leading university in Mexico conducted an Efficacy Review with Pearson to help align the department on the outcomes for students and identify the evidence that would demonstrate impact

To find out more about the Pearson Efficacy Review Framework and learn how it can support you and your institution, go to: www.pearson.com/corporate/efficacy-and-research.html

To learn more about the Global Scale of English and the free online resources that are available to teachers, go to: www.english.com/gse

Mike Mayor

Mike Mayor is Director, Global Scale of English at Pearson. In this role, Mike heads up research into creating audience-specific learning objectives aligned to the Global Scale of English, working with Content teams to ensure that these learning objectives underpin all new products and services. On leaving university, Mike worked as a teacher of English in France before entering the world of publishing as a lexicographer. Mike joined Pearson in 2003 and headed up the dictionaries list until his move to the Global Scale of English in 2013.

mike  mayor

Sarah Caton

Sarah Caton is Director, Efficacy and Impact at Pearson. Sarah heads up efficacy across all our ELT, School and Assessment products and services, helping teams research and define learner outcomes, use the latest learning design to meet those outcomes, and measure the impact on outcomes once products are in use. Sarah started working life as a teacher of maths to school and college students, before moving into the publishing world to develop maths learning resources. Since joining Pearson in 2005, Sarah worked in qualification development and support, then progressing to develop online programmes with universities before moving into efficacy in 2014.

sarah caton