The long-term impact of effective teaching
Peter Tymms and colleagues at Durham University's Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring conducted a study of 40,000 children in England to examine what impact effective teaching in the first year of school has on achievement at the end of compulsory teaching at age 16.
Children's early reading and math development were measured at the start of school, at age four, using the Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS) assessments. They were assessed again at the end of their first school year and at ages 7, 11, and 16.
By assessing children at the beginning and end of their first year, the researchers were able to identify effective classes - defined as a class where children made much larger than average gains from ages 4 to 5, controlling for pretests and poverty level.
The study, published in School Effectiveness and School Improvement, found that children who were taught well in their first year of school went on to achieve better GCSE results (GCSEs are high-stakes exams in the UK) in English and math at age 16 (effect size = +0.2). Long-term benefits in achievement were also reported for those children who were in effective classes in Key Stages 1 and 2, however, these were not as large as those seen in the first year of school (Key Stage 1 is the equivalent of kindergarten to first grade in the U.S., and Key Stage 2 is the equivalent of second grade to fifth grade).
The study concludes that the first year of school presents an important opportunity to have a positive impact on children's long-term academic outcomes.
Preschool language skills a predictor of later reading comprehension
A systematic review published by the Campbell Collaboration summarizes the research on the correlation between reading-related preschool predictors, such as code-related skills and linguistic comprehension, and later reading comprehension skills.
Sixty-four longitudinal studies met the eligibility criteria for the review. These studies spanned 1986 to 2016 and were mostly carried out in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. Overall, the findings of the review found that code-related skills (rhyme awareness, phoneme awareness, letter knowledge, and rapid automatized naming) are most important for reading comprehension in beginning readers, but linguistic comprehension (grammar and vocabulary) gradually takes over as children become older. All predictors, except for non-word repetition, were moderately to strongly correlated with later reading comprehension. Non-word repetition had only a weak to moderate correlation to later reading comprehension ability.
These results suggest a need for a broad focus on language skills in preschool-age children in order to establish a strong foundation for reading comprehension.
Hjetland, H., Brinchmann, E., Solveig-Alma, H., Hagtvet, B. and Melby-Lervåg, M. (2017). Preschool predictors of later reading comprehension ability: A systematic review. Campbell Collaboration. Retrieved from https://www.campbellcollaboration.org/l ... ility.html
This is particularly interesting in view of the announcement that the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening (but who has just resigned following a Cabinet reshuffle) of the establishment of 'English Hubs' for four to five year olds, see:
https://www.daynurseries.co.uk/news/art ... -year-olds
Education Secretary launches 'English Hubs' for four-year-olds
A national network of 35 ‘English Hubs’ are to work with disadvantaged four and five-year-olds in a bid to improve their reading and writing.
The initiative will be run by a new Centre of Excellence for Literacy Teaching which is being funded by a Government investment of £26m.
It is one of a range of measures announced by Education Secretary Justine Greening to boost child literacy and help combat the educational gap between low income children and their better off peers.
Ms Greening said: “School standards are rising with 1.9 million more children being taught in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.
“Our ambition is that no community will be left behind on education. The literacy investment will help make sure that not just most, but every child arrives at school with the vocabulary levels they need to learn. And our investment will mean that once they are at school, every child will get the best literacy teaching. We’ve already seen what a difference our approach on phonics has made for children in England.”
The ’English Hubs’ will mirror the approach by ‘Maths Hubs’ where high performing schools share their teaching with other schools locally.
In addition, from April 2018, new phonics and reading partnerships are to be set up, to drive improvements in teaching and encourage more pupils to enjoy reading a wide range of literature.
Another 20 phonics and reading roadshows will also be run across the country and include a specific focus on reception teaching.
The Government also plans to spend £5m on trialling programmes in the North of England to help parents support early language development at home.
However, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, claimed “these small initiatives” are not enough to “reverse the damage” the Government is doing to the education system.
She added: “This funding will do nothing to change the fact that £2.7 billion has been cut from the budgets of England's schools since 2015, and that teacher recruitment targets have been missed for the fifth year in a row.”