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Maintaining Momentum in Primary School: messages from research and evaluation


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Title: Maintaining Momentum in Primary School: messages from research and evaluation

Maintaining Momentum in Primary School messages
from research and evaluation   Presentation
Prepared for the Social Mobility and Life Chances
Forum Maintaining Momentum, Milton Hill Oxford
December 3-4 2004  
  • Pam Sammons Kathy Sylva
  • University of Nottingham/University of Oxford

Content of Presentation
  • What is the impact of multiple disadvantage and
    does pre-school promote better child outcomes at
    primary school? - Evidence from the EPPE study
  • Does the primary school a child attends make a
    difference to their educational outcomes? -
    Evidence from school effectiveness research
  • What is the evidence of improvement through
    inspection and has this benefited disadvantaged
    groups? - Evidence from an evaluation of the
    impact of Ofsted
  • What kinds of specific interventions promote
    better outcomes for disadvantaged groups of
    children? Evidence from the SPOKES study

Attainments of EPPE Sample at end of Year 1 by
Multiple Disadvantage
Impact of quality and duration
Effect of pre-school (v. no pre-school) on
social-behavioural outcomes at school entry
The contribution of social class and pre-school
to literacy attainment (age 7)
WRITING at key stage 1, social class and
pre-school experience
READING at key stage 1, social class and
pre-school experience
What reduces the risk of SEN?
  • Higher quality longer duration of pre-school
  • Integrated settings and Nursery schools
  • Good home learning environment and employed
  • Pre-school reduced proportion of children at
    risk of SEN from 13 to 15

Focus of SER
  • The central focus a belief in the potency of
    social institutions
  • the idea that schools matter, that schools do
    have major effects upon childrens development
    and that, to put it simply, schools do make a
    difference (Reynolds Creemers, 1990)
  • Effectiveness is not a neutral term.
    Defining the effectiveness of a particular school
    always requires choices among competing values
    the criteria of effectiveness will be the subject
    of political debate (Firestone, 1990)

Aims Goals of Early SER
  • to promote Equity and Excellence
  • Clientele - poor/ethnic minority students
  • Subject matter - basic skills reading maths
  • Equity - children of urban poor should achieve at
    same level as those of middle classes

Focus on Student Outcomes
  • For us the touchstone criteria to be applied
    to all educational matters concern whether
    children learn more or less because of the policy
    or practice Reynolds 1997
  • An effective school is one in which students
    progress further than might be expected from
    consideration of its intake Mortimore 1991
  • SER seeks to identify the Value Added by
  • schools to student outcomes

  • mainly quantitative, but case studies important
  • values reliability and replicability
  • seeks to make generalisations
  • works in partnership with practitioners
  • values the views and perceptions of teachers,
    students and parents

The Impact of Intake
  • Natural justice demands that schools are held
    accountable only for those things they can
    influence (for good or ill) and not for all the
    existing differences between their intakes
    (Nuttall 1990)
  • SER seeks to disentangle the impact of prior
    attainment and background characteristics from
    the impact of school and classes/teachers on
    students progress/social or affective outcomes

(No Transcript)
Example of value added feedback from Improving
School Effectiveness Project Primary Schools
AAP Results
N of primary schools 44 plt0.05 , MacBeath
Mortimore, 2000
Defining Consistency
  • Within school comparisons focus on internal
    variation in effects
  • For different cognitive non-cognitive outcomes
  • By different year groups within each school,
    including variations in class or teacher effects
  • For different pupil groups
  • - boys/girls
  • - initial low/high attainers,
  • - low SES/high SES

  • Effectiveness is a relative concept which is
    time and outcome specific
  • Effective in promoting which outcomes?
  • the what of effectiveness
  • Effective for which student groups?
  • the who of effectiveness
  • Effective over what time period?
  • the when of effectiveness

Differential Effectiveness
  • The size of school effects for black students
    were almost twice as large as for white students
    in the US (Coleman et al 1966)
  • Differences between public and private schools
    almost twice as large for low SES students as for
    middle class students, differences between
    schools for high SES students small in US (Bryk
    Raudenbush, 1992)
  • School effects vary for students by race and low
    prior attainment in England. School effects
    larger for initially low attaining and for black
    Caribbean students (Nuttall et al 1989)
  • Primary school effects vary for students with low
    compared with high initial attainment in England,
    being larger for low initial attainers (Sammons
    et al 1993)

Equity Implications
  • Dutch primary schools are highly stable in
    effectiveness across grades for low SES students,
    less stable in effectiveness across grades for
    high SES students (Bosker 1995)
  • Schools matter most for underprivileged
    and/or initially low achieving students.
    Effective or ineffective schools are especially
    effective or ineffective for these students
  • After Scheerens Bosker 1997

The Processes of Effective Schools
After Teddlie Reynolds 2000
The ineffective school (Reynolds 1995)
  • Non-rational approach to evidence
  • fear of outsiders
  • dread of change
  • capacity for blaming external conditions
  • set of internal cliques
  • lack of competencies for improvement
  • ..may have inside itself multiple schools
    formed around cliques and friendship groups ..
    There will be none of the organisational, social,
    cultural and symbolic tightness of the effective

Empirical Confirmation of SE Meta-Analyses
  • cooperation
  • school climate
  • monitoring at school and class level
  • opportunity to learn (content coverage - homework
    - time)
  • parental involvement
  • pressure to achieve
  • school leadership After Scheerens Bosker 1997
  • The most powerful factors are located at the
    classroom level. Schools should address proximal
    variables like curriculum, instruction and
    assessment which emphasis student outcomes
    Wang et al

Processes for School Improvement
  • Clear leadership
  • Developing a shared vision goals
  • Staff development teacher learning
  • Involving pupils, parents community
  • Using an evolutionary development planning
  • Redefining structures, frameworks, roles
  • responsibilities
  • Emphasis on teaching learning
  • Monitoring, problem-solving evaluation
  • Celebration of success
  • External support, networking partnership

Significance of School Effects
  • Although the differences in scholastic attainment
  • achieved by the same student in contrasting
  • schools is unlikely to be great, in many
    instances it
  • represents the difference between success and
  • failure and operates as a facilitating or
  • factor in higher education.
  • When coupled with the promotion of other
    pro-social attitudes and behaviours, and the
    inculcation of a positive self-image,the
    potential of the school to improve the life
    chances of students is considerable.
  • Mortimore 1998143

Impact of Inspection Outcomes of special
measures over 10 years

Perceptions of benefits of inspections 2002/03
comparison of head teachers and teachers views

Judgements of extent of Improvement of primary
and secondary schools since their last inspection
(2002/03 Annual Report)
Primary schools change of inspection judgements
from first to second inspection (percentage of
Percentage of 11 year-old pupils reaching level 4
and above in English, mathematics and science
The proportion of good or better teaching in
primary schools
International Comparisons of Reading Attainment
Is improvement greater in schools facing
challenging circumstances?
Percentage of unsatisfactory /poor lessons in
primary schools going into special measures and
two years after coming out (2002/03)
Percentage of lessons unsatisfactory or poor
Disadvantaged pupils are over-represented in
schools judged to require special measures
Improving City Schools key features of teaching
  • a high degree of consistency across the school
  • high expectations of pupils, matched by well
    planned support to help them meet the challenges
    of the work
  • skilful management of pupils in classrooms and
    effective use of time and resources
  • motivating teaching methods materials, planned
    with the improvement of basic skills in mind

Ofsted 2000
Challenges for 21st century
  • Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are more
    likely than others to experience educational
  • Reasons for eradicating school failure
  • philosophical/ethical - to promote fairness
    improvement in quality of life and opportunities
    for all groups, to encourage positive attitudes
    to future learning and self-esteem
  • political - to promote social cohesion and
    inclusion and empower young people as citizens to
    participate in a successful democracy
  • economic - to promote future prosperity
    prevent waste of talent avoid social/economic
    burden on Governments

Maintaining Momentum in the Primary Phase
messages from research evaluation
  • Pre-school provides children with a better start
    to school and is particularly important in
    improving attainment for low SES pupils, the
    impact is still evident at age 7 years
  • Schools vary in their effectiveness. For
    disadvantaged groups the effectiveness of the
    primary school attended is particularly
  • SER provides an important evidence-base on the
    correlates of effective schools and teachers and
    has stimulated school improvement initiatives at
    national and local level.
  • Inspection, has helped raise overall attainment
    levels and improved the quality of teaching in
    primary schools.
  • Inspection has acted as a powerful catalyst for
    improvement of weaker schools and this has
    benefitted disadvantaged pupil groups because
    they are over represented in such schools.
  • For the most vulnerable groups of pupils
    intensive, structured and targetted interventions
    are needed at an early stage.

  • The EPPE team
  • Kathy Sylva University of Oxford
  • Edward Melhuish Birkbeck, University of London
  • Pam Sammons University of Nottingham
  • Iram Siraj-Blatchford Institute of Education,
    University of London
  • Brenda Taggart Institute of Education, University
    of London
  • http//
  • http//
  • EPPE is an ESRC TLRP (Affiliate) project