Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
The Education Endowment Foundation has asked researchers at the University of York and Durham University to evaluate the Grammar for Writing intervention being delivered and supported by the University of Exeter in 2013. The intervention aims to improve writing skills in Year 6 children who are less able writers, especially the writing skills of pupils who are currently working at KS2 Level 3 or a fragile KS2 Level 4. The intervention will be a modified version of an existing grammar intervention aimed at improving writing skills in older children. This study will assess how well Grammar for Writing works compared to usual teaching.
Who can participate?
Year 6 pupils in approximately 60 schools.
What does the study involve?
Schools will be randomly allocated to one of two groups: a Grammar for Writing group and a business as usual group. Within the grammar for writing group, individual children who meet the inclusion criteria will be randomly allocated to receive either enhanced small group support or to remain within the wider class. Towards the end of the summer term (2013) all pupils from the included classes (with some exceptions where needed) will complete the GL Assessment Progress in English (PiE) 11 (Long Form). The Progress in English results of pupils who have taken part in the intervention will then be compared with the results of pupils who received usual teaching, in order to estimate the effect the intervention has had on pupils writing skills.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Participating schools will receive access to a potentially beneficial writing intervention for pupils in Year 6. There are no known risks of participation.
Where is the study run from?
The independent evaluation is being conducted by the University of York and Durham University. The University of Exeter are responsible for communication with schools and delivery of the intervention. 60 schools.
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study begins in March 2013 and is expected to last for 8 months.
Who is funding the study?
Education Endowment Foundation (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Professor David Torgerson, Principal Investigator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Natasha Mitchell, Trial Manager, email@example.com
Prof David Torgerson
York Trials Unit
Department of Health Sciences
University of York
+44 (0)1904 321 340
Version 1.4 12.02.12
Independent Evaluation of University of Exeter's Grammar for Writing Programme: a cluster randomised controlled trial
What is the effectiveness of the one to one or small group Grammar for writing intervention compared with a business as usual control group on writing skills of participating children?
1. Durham University School of Education Ethics Committee, 14/02/2013
2. University of York Health Sciences Research Governance Committee, 20/02/2013
Pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial. Outcome assessment will be marked blind to allocation.
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Cluster randomised trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Education, English writing skills
Intervention: Grammar for Writing intervention: delivered and supported by the University of Exeter in 2013. The intervention aims to improve writing skills in Year 6 children who are less able writers. The intervention will be a modified version of an existing grammar intervention aimed at improving writing skills in older children.
Control: Usual Teaching
Primary outcome measure
Combined Score on 2 writing tasks within the GL Assessment Progress in English 11 (Long Form) test
Secondary outcome measures
Scores on reading, spelling and grammar tasks within the GL Assessment Progress in English 11 (Long Form) test
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
Primary Schools: The University of Exeter, in collaboration with the National Association of Teachers of English, will recruit appropriate schools, willing to implement the Writing for Grammar intervention if allocated to intervention and willing to undertake all related research procedures.
Pupils/Children: In participating schools 2 classes (randomised to intervention or control group) from Year 6 in 2012/2013 school academic year. Additionally, within the intervention class, teachers will identify pupils who are eligible for individual randomisation using pre-specified criteria: Year 6 pupils expected to achieve Level 3 or borderline Level 4 in English by the end of Key Stage 2.
Target number of participants
Approximately 60 primary schools. Approximately 3240 pupils/children for whole class randomisation & approximately 240 pupils/children for individual randomisation.
Participant exclusion criteria
Primary Schools: NOT willing to allow the random allocation of Year 6 class(es) to either intervention or comparison group, and/or NOT willing to allow randomisation of individual pupils to receive the intervention in small group/one to one or within the class, and/or NOT willing to undertake all related research procedures.
Pupils/Children: Year 6 pupils NOT in participating primary schools.
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
University of York
University of York (UK)
c/o Sue Final
Research Innovation Office
York Science Park
+44 (0)1904 435 154
Education Endowment Foundation (UK)
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Not provided at time of registration
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Not expected to be available
Basic results (scientific)
2015 results in: http://www.oerj.org/View?action=viewPaper&paper=182