Early Years and Key Stage 1 Mathematics Teaching: Evidence Review

Jeremy Hodgen, Nancy Barclay, Colin Foster, Camilla Gilmore, Rachel Marks, Victoria Simms

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This document presents a review of evidence commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation to inform the writing of the guidance report Improving mathematics in the Early Years and Key Stage One.
The review aimed to synthesise the best available international evidence regarding teaching and learning of mathematics for children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 (i.e., between the ages of 3 and 7) and aimed to answer the following research question:
What is the evidence on the effectiveness of classroom-based interventions for improving mathematical learning of children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 settings?
Over the past decade or so, there have been a number of ‘best evidence’ reviews that have surveyed and synthesised the research evidence on how young children learn mathematics in order to consider how teaching could be adapted to better support learning (e.g., Clements et al., 2013; Cross et al., 2009; Deans for Impact, 2019; Dooley et al., 2014). These reviews provided valuable context for our review and enabled us to triangulate our findings with the wider literature on mathematics learning. However, our review took a different approach by focusing principally on teaching. Specifically, we reviewed the experimental evidence about the efficacy of teaching interventions designed to improve children’s learning in mathematics. We urge readers to view our review as a complement to the existing body of ‘best evidence’ and to consider the findings of this review in the context of this wider literature.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEducation Endowment Foundation
Number of pages108
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 27 Nov 2020


  • mathematics
  • early years
  • key stage 1
  • teaching


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