Institute of Education


Are educational trials producing useful evidence?

4:30 pm to 6:30 pm, 15 May 2019

Bored boy at desk

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are increasingly common in the education sector, yet often expensive. This talk from Hugo Lortie-Forgues asks whether such trials produce useful evidence for large scale implementation.

Event Information

Open to



Katherine Rychliski


Committee Room 1
UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
20 Bedford Way

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In recent years, there has been a growing number of RCTs conducted in education. For example, in the UK, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has commissioned more than 191 trials since 2012. These trials are often expensive, many exceeding £500,000.

Given their growing numbers, and their cost, it is important to reflect on how informative these trials are. Are educational trials able to determine whether an intervention should be implemented at scale or whether its use should be discontinued?

Hugo Lortie-Forgues presents data from a study that reanalysed all the large-scale RCTs commissioned by the EEF (UK) and the NCEE (National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education, US) aimed at improving academic achievement in primary and secondary school students (141 completed trials, involving a total 1,222,024 students). This talk covers the conclusions of the study and discusses the different reactions the study has sparked.


About the Speaker

Hugo Lortie-Forgues

Hugo Lortie-Forgues is a Lecturer in the Department of Education at the University of York. His research focuses on mathematics education and on the evaluation of educational interventions.