Published on: 13 Oct 2017

For us, it’s often the case that students can decode well but simply don’t understand what the words actually mean. Without a doubt, the elephant in the room is comprehension. If a child can decode to an extent, that develops confidence – but this confidence is easily shattered quite quickly when they enter secondary school.
Nigel Ward, Chief Executive of the Northern Schools Trust

Measuring the impact of interventions

The Education Endowment Fund (EEF) has noted that one of the significant shifts in education in the UK over the last decade has been a growing interest in establishing the impact of specific interventions on children’s outcomes. 

Monitoring pupil progress is something schools are familiar with and can be achieved through regular assessment which highlight whether each child is on or off track. When interventions are needed, they can, for example, offer additional support in reading - and many schools seem to have a number of interventions aimed at improving reading outcomes for children at any given point in time.

But, in order to evaluate the impact of specific interventions, a judgement is required as to how effective something has been. For example, an intervention to raise low levels of reading comprehension in Year 7 pupils requires us to analyse the data we collect of reading ages and/or standard age scores of the participants at the start and at the end of the intervention to determine if the intervention is worth continuing with.

Reading is, of course, an essential part of a child’s toolkit to learn and as such, it’s vital for schools to understand where the gaps lie and what support is needed. As Nigel Ward, Chief Executive of the Northern Schools Trust, explains, “For us, it’s often the case that students can decode well but simply don’t understand what the words actually mean. Without a doubt, the elephant in the room is comprehension. If a child can decode to an extent, that develops confidence – but this confidence is easily shattered quite quickly when they enter secondary school.”

The Catch-Up Premium provides schools in England with an additional £500 for each Year 7 pupil who did not achieve the nationally expected standard of 100 (previously Level 4) in Reading and/or Maths at the end of Key Stage 2. This funding is intended to provide additional support and strategies to ensure that they reach at least the standard or above in Literacy/Numeracy by the end of Year 7 to ensure they are more likely to succeed at secondary school.

As with Pupil Premium funding, schools need to report on how their Catch-Up Premium is utilised. Initial assessment, for example at the start of a school year or at the beginning of an intervention, provides baseline data from which progress can be measured, while data from regular, subsequent and ongoing assessment will reveal the progress that pupils are making.

For example this is an extract from a school’s Catch Up Premium report:

Improvement Initiative

Description

Impact

Reading intervention #1

 

All Year 7 and 8 pupils take part in this scheme, which is designed to increase pupils’ reading ages.

To be measured in Reading Ages every term.


Our New Group Reading Test allows schools to compare reading ages at the start and at the end of interventions to show the impact of interventions. Here are three children who achieved below the national standard of 100 in reading in their Key Stage 2 national tests.

Pupil name

KS2 Reading score

Age at time of test

NGRT Reading age at start on intervention

Date of start of intervention

NGRT  Reading age at end of intervention

Date at end of intervention

Rate of progress in months

Length of intervention in months

Child A

95

11.02

10.00

11/09/2017

10.08

11/12/2017

8

3

Child B

97

11

10.06

11/09/2017

10.09

11/12/2017

3

3

Child C

91

11:03

9.03

11/09/2017

9.09

11/12/2017

6

3

 

In the above example, the reading ages of the participants increased by 8, 3 and 6 months. The questions we should therefore ask are: Would you consider the impact enough to continue using the same intervention? What other factors may be at contributing to this outcome? Where do the gaps remain? And don’t forget this vital consideration, too - are they beginning to love reading? Attitudes and confidence play their part, too.

Find out more about NGRT and our new termly tests on our website.

By Hilary Fine, Senior Publisher, GL Assessment

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