An independent evaluation in the UK of Stop and Think: Learning Counterintuitive Concepts has found evidence of a positive impact in math and science outcomes for students in Key Stage 2 .
The Learning Counterintuitive Concepts project, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and Wellcome, aimed to improve science and math achievement for Year 3 (7-8 year olds) and Year 5 (9-10 year olds) using an intervention called Stop and Think. When learning new concepts in science and math, students must be able to inhibit prior contradictory knowledge and misconceptions to acquire new knowledge successfully. Stop and Think is a computer-assisted learning activity that aims to improve a learner’s ability to adapt to counterintuitive concepts by training them to inhibit their initial response, and instead, give a slower and more reflective answer.
The randomized controlled trial involved 6,672 children from 89 schools across England. The intervention was delivered to the whole class and consisted of 30 sessions delivered for a maximum of 15 minutes, three times a week, for 10 weeks at the start of math or science lessons.
The results suggest that
- Students who participated in Stop and Think made more progress in science and math on average, compared to children in the business-as-usual control group.
- The combined effect size across the two year groups for math was +0.09 and +0.12 for science.
To check whether this impact was due to the Stop and Think game specifically, or was a result of the extra students engagement and motivation arising from having a fun computer-based activity at the start of lessons more generally, schools were offered an alternative computer-based program that did not include any content from Stop and Think. Intervention-group students also made more progress than students in this “active” control group. The combined effect sizes for math and science were +0.13 and +0.15 respectively.
Source (Open Access): Roy,P., Rutt, S., Easton,C., Sims,D., Bradshaw, S., & McNamara, S. (2019). Stop and Think: Learning counterintuitive concepts – Evaluation report. London, UK: The Education Endowment Foundation.