Condition category
Not Applicable
Date applied
27/11/2014
Date assigned
20/01/2015
Last edited
09/10/2015
Prospective/Retrospective
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Completed
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Many children do not leave primary school with the expected level of literacy. This has an impact on subsequent educational performance and is also linked to poor labour market outcomes. While much is known about the characteristics of struggling readers, there is much less known about practical programmes capable of helping educators prevent or remediate early reading deficits. In this study, we intend to analyse the effects of two methods (treatments) of small group tuition for literacy for Year 1 students in English schools. In particular, the study is designed to answer the following questions:
1. Do the treatments have an impact on reading outcomes within one academic year?
2. What treatment is more effective?
3. Do the treatments produce different results across students with different characteristics?
4. Is there any evidence of effects on the group of non-treated students?
5. Do any effects persist one year later?

Who can participate?
Coventry University will attempt to recruit 60 schools in Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, Worcester and Solihull. In particular, an effort will be made to encourage schools with disadvantaged students to participate during the recruitment stage. Coventry University is running the recruitment event.

What does the study involve?
Schools will be paired according to different characteristics, like the percentage of disadvantaged students. Within each pair of schools, one school will be randomly assigned to the treatment group and the other school will be part of the control group. Schools in the treatment group will receive the treatment in Year 1. Control schools will receive the treatment in Year 2.
Students in treatment schools will be randomly assigned to one of 3 groups:
1. Support from small group teaching assistance for literacy using a computer programme
2. Support from small group teaching assistance for literacy using other methods
3. No additional support other than the normal (‘business as usual’ control group)
Baseline reading tests will be organised by Coventry University at the beginning of the academic year, and compared with the results of additional reading tests by the end of Year 1.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
There are no risks of participating for either the schools or the students.
The benefits of participating for schools is in terms of the training that their teaching assistants will undertake, either in Year 1 or 2. The benefits of participating for students are the hypothesised positive effects of using teaching assistants for small group tuition for literacy outcomes.
The benefits of the study are also for teachers and schools, since the results will provide guidance on how best to use both teacher and school resources to improve the attainment of pupils.

Where is the study run from?
The development and implementation of the intervention will be led by Dr Janet Vousden and Professor Clare Wood, Coventry University (recruitment of schools, administering baseline tests, training teacher assistants, administer assessments by the end of Year 1, etc.).
The recruitment will be in 60 schools in Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, Worcester and Solihull (UK).
The impact evaluation will be led by Professor Sandra McNally, Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics.
The process evaluation will be led by Dr. Heather Rolfe, National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). The purpose of the process evaluation is to assess the fidelity of the intervention and to help explain the impact of small group tuition as measured by the study.

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
October 2013 to July 2017.
The preparation and recruitment of schools will be done between January and July 2014. Baseline tests will be organised in all participating schools in September 2014. Randomisation will be conducted after the baseline tests have been administered, in October 2014. For schools that take part in the study, those allocated to the treatment group will receive the treatments in academic year 2014-2015, those allocated to the control group will receive the treatments in academic year 2015-2016.

Who is funding the study?
The Education Endowment Foundation, an independent charity originally funded by a grant from the Department for Education, dedicated to raising the educational attainment of disadvantaged pupils in primary and secondary schools in England.

Who is the main contact?
Professor John Van Reenen
Director of the Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics



Trial website

http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects/online-reading-support-coventry-university/

Contact information

Type

Scientific

Primary contact

Prof Sandra McNally

ORCID ID

Contact details

Centre for Economic Performance
London School of Economics
Houghton Street
London
WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number

ClinicalTrials.gov number

Protocol/serial number

N/A

Study information

Scientific title

An Evaluation of Teaching Assistant-Based Small Group Support for Literacy: a cluster randomised trial

Acronym

Study hypothesis

The main hypothesis we would like to test whether small group tuition using teacher assistants for students in Year 1 (of the English National Curriculum) improves the literacy of students in treated groups. Additionally, we would like to test which of two treatments is better: 1. Support from small group teaching assistance for literacy using a computer programme; 2. Support from small group teaching assistance for literacy using other methods.

Ethics approval

The recruitment of schools and implementation of the treatments has been approved by the Coventry University Ethics Committee (ethics.uni@coventry.ac.uk), 16/12/2013, Reference number P19172.

Study design

Pair matching cluster randomisation across schools into treatment and control groups. Student level randomisation across the 3 conditions in the treated schools.

Primary study design

Interventional

Secondary study design

Randomised cross over trial

Trial setting

Schools

Trial type

Other

Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet

Condition

Small group teaching assistance for literacy

Intervention

Students in treatment schools will be randomly assigned to one of 3 groups:
1. Support from small group teaching assistance for literacy using a computer programme;
2. Support from small group teaching assistance for literacy using other methods
3. No additional support other than the normal (“business as usual" control group)

Intervention type

Other

Phase

Drug names

Primary outcome measures

General reading ability, as measured by progress on the PIRA assessment.

Secondary outcome measures

1. Word reading (Diagnostic Test of Word Reading Performance)
2. Receptive vocabulary (the British Picture Vocabulary Scales 3)
3. Phonological and letter sounds skills (using selected subtests from the Primary Inventory of Phonological Awareness).
4. Additional secondary outcomes will be KS1 reading and writing one year later

Overall trial start date

25/10/2013

Overall trial end date

01/07/2016

Reason abandoned

Eligibility

Participant inclusion criteria

Coventry University will attempt to recruit 60 primary schools in Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, Worcester and Solihull.
All students in Year 1 in participating schools are part of the study group (except where parents have signed the opt-out consent form).

Participant type

Other

Age group

Child

Gender

Both

Target number of participants

The plan is to recruit 60 schools: 30 for the treatment group and 30 for the control group. All Year 1 students within year groups are participants. Within treatment schools, Year 1 students are divided equally into three groups: (1) teaching assistance with ICT; (2) teaching assistance without ICT; (3) business as usual. The exact number of pupils depends on school size.

Participant exclusion criteria

Students whose parents sign opt-out consent forms.

Recruitment start date

01/01/2014

Recruitment end date

31/07/2014

Locations

Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Coventry University
Priory Street
Coventry
CV1 5FB
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics
2nd floor 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London
WC2A 3PH
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

National Institute of Social and Economic Research
2 Dean Trench Street
London
SW1P 3HE
United Kingdom

Sponsor information

Organisation

Education Endowment Fund

Sponsor details

9th Floor Millbank Tower
21-24 Millbank
London
SW1P 4QP
United Kingdom

Sponsor type

Charity

Website

http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/

Funders

Funder type

Charity

Funder name

Education Endowment Fund

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype

Location

Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

The results will be written up for a the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) report by around December 2015, which will be published on the EEF website (after going through the referee process). We will subsequently look to publish our work in academic papers. The report to EEF will include results based on short-term outcomes only (and not one year after the intervention).

Intention to publish date

31/12/2017

Participant level data

Stored in repository

Results - basic reporting

Publication summary

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes