Ben Castleman: behavioural insights and higher education
What Works was pleased to host University of Virginia Associate Professor Ben Castleman on Friday 9 August 2019. He is the Founder and Director of the Nudge4 Solutions Lab and a senior advisor to Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative. Ben’s research develops scalable solutions in education and public policy by leveraging psychology, data science, interactive technologies, and deep partnerships with public and private agencies and organizations. Ben is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and has presented about his research at several White House convenings and in testimony before Congress.
Behavioural Insights and the Student Experience
In this three day course over 12-14 June 2018, members of the What Works Department and the UK Government’s Behavioural Insights Team took participants through the behavioural insights approach, from the identification of a target behaviour, to understanding what might be causing it, developing solutions, and testing those solutions in the field.
Attending this course trained King’s staff to think about how you might use knowledge of student behaviour to alter practices in their own departments in an evidence-based way and provided an introduction to impact evaluation through randomised controlled trials. It was also an opportunity to build presentation, planning and teamwork skills.
Designing RCTs: a workshop for WP & evaluation practitioners
OFFA’s Level 3 standard of evaluation specifies the need to confidently establish that interventions, specifically multi-activity programmes and summer schools, are having “a causal impact on participants’ outcomes”. This requires a new way of thinking about evaluation, and the addition of new tools to our evaluation toolkit.
On Friday 13 April 2018, we ran a one-day practitioner Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) workshop, held at King’s College London.
The morning session introduced the theoretical underpinnings of causal evaluations, including RCTs, when they should and shouldn’t be used in evaluation, and how they can work in widening participation and student success. In the afternoon session, participants worked with expert advisors to develop an RCT evaluation strategy for one of their own programmes or initiatives.
The day was designed for those who are actively involved in the evaluation of outreach, widening participation and student success activities. You can read some of our reflections about the day here.
What Works Project Launch Event
On 31 January 2018, we launched the final report of the KCLxBIT Project. We were thrilled to welcome 200 attendees, from both within and outside King’s. You can see some of the Twitter chat around the event here, read some of our reflections on the event here, and read the project report itself here.