What the evidence says about targeted interventions

Posted on 5th July 2021

Posted by Will Hall


In education, an intervention is typically a strategy designed to measure the progress of and support individuals or small groups of learners who are struggling over a predetermined period of time. The purpose of interventions is clear – to help learners make progress – but my 7 years teaching mathematics taught me that planning and executing them successfully can be challenging.

Fortunately, an increasing amount of research has been carried out over the last few years with the aim of figuring out what works best when planning and delivering interventions. The Education Endowment Foundation recently shared its own evidence-based insights on creating an effective, structured intervention strategy. 

When considering an intervention programme, the report encourages schools to make six key considerations, which form the acronym TARGET: ‘Timing’, ‘Assessment’, ‘Resourcing’, ‘Give it time’, ‘Expert Delivery’ and ‘Teacher Links’. The document suggests using assessments to help monitor students’ progress and identify those who require support, and states that intervention sessions should be:

  • short, lasting 15-60 minutes, and regular, taking place multiple times per week
  • supported by ‘structured resources and lesson plans’, and have a clear objective
  • consistently delivered over a sustained period
  • delivered by a qualified teacher (or trained teaching assistant) following agreed upon delivery protocols

If the person delivering the intervention is not a pupil’s regular classroom teacher, the guidance also stresses the importance of regular communication between the teacher and intervention deliverer to ensure that ‘appropriate connections’ can be made between the learning that takes place within the classroom and outside of it. 

Providing these high-quality interventions and assessing their effectiveness can be highly time consuming. To help teachers and students, technology can be used to lighten the load for staff while helping them to fulfil the above criteria. 

CENTURY’s diagnostics, included in every course, function as baseline assessments to identify pupils’ strengths and areas for development and to track progress if used as a post-assessment. Once a student has completed a diagnostic, teaching staff will have instant access to their results and can plan future lessons and interventions accordingly. 

Students are also automatically set personalised provision by CENTURY to help students plug in gaps in their knowledge; however, some learners will have more gaps than others. Using the Interventions Tab, staff can view learners’ average score against effort to identify students to support. They may then wish to use this information to set up intervention groups on the platform, which will allow staff to assign these students pieces of work that will target their specific areas of need and to consistently assess their progress over time. Using CENTURY as an intervention tool in this way enables teachers to differentiate learning without harming students’ confidence, as they will not be able to see who has been placed within the group. 

By taking care of resource creation, marking and data analysis, incorporating edtech into your school or college’s intervention strategy frees up staff time, allowing them to focus on the learning and development of each student. AI-powered solutions allow students to make progress outside of the classroom at any time, helping to create more confident and self-determined learners. As a result, teachers can target interventions more quickly and learners have the self-awareness to figure out what they are struggling with and what steps they need to take to improve. 

Book a demo to find out more about how CENTURY can help to enhance the teaching and learning at your school or college.