Confidence is often intrinsically linked to achievement and a learner’s self-perception of their abilities, which means that improving confidence should be a key outcome measure for educators.

But what’s the best way to measure confidence?

Of course, it means asking learners directly. But it needs to be centred around the areas that they are likely to find more difficult and could, therefore, have a higher impact on their ability to succeed.

We’ve already talked about how learners with identified learning difficulties have lower confidence performing tasks related to their difficulties. So, our focus should be on these learners, who could be at a significant disadvantage to their peers.


An evidence-based learner journey

At Cognassist, we ran a longitudinal study with 111 learners to measure confidence and motivation over time.

We sent a survey to learners who had recently taken our assessment through multiple providers that we work with. We asked each learner two questions about their confidence in completing daily tasks related to each of the eight cognitive domains we measure, as well as questions about their motivation to get better at these tasks, and how relevant these types of tasks were to their course.

After three months, we sent the survey again to see if there had been a change in the confidence or motivation of learners in the study. Over a three-month period, the learners with specific needs had time to engage with our support strategies and, of course, additional support from their educator provider.

Learners identified with a cognitive learning need through the Cognassist digital cognitive assessment saw an increase in confidence with the types of tasks they are likely to find more difficult because of their identified needs.

The average increase in confidence was 14%, ranging between 3 and 39% overall.

But better yet, these learners also increased in motivation to get better at these tasks. Indicating that they were more engaged and ambitious about their own learning.

The average increase in motivation was 16%, which is fantastic, and ranged between 1 and a whopping 51% overall.

Crucially, learners who did not have identified learning needs and, therefore, did not receive support experienced no increase in confidence or motivation over the same three-month period.


Demonstrating impact

Although this was a small study, the results were statistically significant, and we will continue to expand of this research. However, what it does show is that investing in personalised support with one-on-one guidance from tutors can have huge benefits for your learners who may struggle in education, even over a short period of time.

We’re going to continue measuring further trends in learners’ confidence and motivation as they progress further through their programme.

But it’s clear impact measures like this are hugely important for all education providers who are accountable to Ofsted, employers and, above all, their learners.

Demonstrating that you have a robust support provision and that your SEND learners achieve the best outcomes are part of being an Outstanding provider. Ofsted are focusing on these areas, and you can read some of the positive feedback our clients have received in their Ofsted reports.

You can also hear directly from learners with our Success Stories.

But wait, there’s more.

Take a look at our last instalment of the series to find out how you can track confidence and motivation as part of Mesma’s Quality Assurance Framework.