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SEPP: reducing educational inequality with interventions
Collaborating with the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
The Scalable Education Programs Partnership (SEPP) aims to build a toolbox of effective and scalable educational interventions for disadvantaged students and their caregivers. The platform, set up by the University of Amsterdam, has the mission to bridge the gap between science and practice in education and reduce growing educational inequality.
SEPP is a platform for conducting practice-oriented research in education, specifically aimed at disadvantaged students. Disadvantaged students have educational disadvantages compared to children from other neighborhoods. SEPP focuses on educational support that helps these students build a scientific foundation for the effectiveness of educational interventions. Which interventions work? And why works an intervention at school A and not at school B?
The recent corona crisis has increased existing problems in education, with a growing gap between students and increasing teacher absenteeism. SEPP offers a solution by bringing together the expertise of academic researchers and education innovators and evaluating promising education strategies.
If every school were to apply High Dosage Tutoring, disadvantaged students would reach the same math level.
High Dosage Tutoring
One of the promising interventions that SEPP is currently investigating is High Dosage Tutoring (HDT). Students receive extra math lessons, given by professional tutors, in a 2-on-1 setting. The goal is to help these students to perform better in math over a full year, while also paying attention to social-emotional development and parental involvement.
Jurgen Tijms, one of the researchers involved, explains SEPP's research: 'If you look at school performance per municipality, you see that arithmetic skills in Amsterdam-Southeast are lower than in other Amsterdam neighborhoods. As an experiment, some schools have experimented with High Dosage Tutoring. Based on this, we investigated the effect size of that intervention. How much are the students improving? It turns out that if every school in Zuidoost were to apply HDT, students would reach almost the same math level.'
Policy based on science
Through this research, SEPP gathers new knowledge about educational interventions. It is important for the municipality to know which form of support is effective. Jurgen Tijms: 'The municipality has had activities to combat educational disadvantage for twenty years, but relatively little has changed. A lot of knowledge is needed to reduce educational inequality. Based on our research, they can implement policy actions whose effects are predicted.'
Working together for a better future
With SEPP contributing to educational innovation and research, there is hope that inequality of opportunity in Dutch education can be changed. By bringing science and practice together, SEPP is committed to a better future for all pupils and students, regardless of their background.
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