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EFFECTIVE PRE-SCHOOL AND PRIMARY EDUCATION 3-11 PROJECT (EPPE 3-11) THE INFLUENCE OF SCHOOL AND TEACHING QUALITY ON CHILDREN'S PROGRESS IN PRIMARY SCHOOL

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EFFECTIVE PRE-SCHOOL AND PRIMARY EDUCATION 3-11 PROJECT (EPPE 3-11) THE INFLUENCE OF SCHOOL AND TEACHING QUALITY ON CHILDREN'S PROGRESS IN PRIMARY SCHOOL
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  Brief No: RB817December2006ISBN978 1 854478 853 8 EFFECTIVE PRE-SCHOOL AND PRIMARY EDUCATION 3-11 PROJECT (EPPE 3-11) VARIATIONS IN TEACHER AND PUPIL BEHAVIOURS IN YEAR 5 CLASSES Pam Sammons $ , Brenda Taggart *  , Iram Siraj-Blatchford  *  , Kathy Sylva + ,Edward Melhuish # and Sofka Barreau  * *  Institute of Education, University of London,  + University of Oxford, # Birkbeck, University of London and   $ University of Nottingham The EPPE 3-11 Project builds on the work of the earlier Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE)project, which was the first major longitudinal study in Europe to investigate the impact of pre-school provisionon a national sample of young children, tracing their development between the ages of 3 and 7 years. EPPE 3-11follows the same sample of 2500 plus children to age 11 years, the end of Key Stage 2 (KS2). This researchbrief reports the results of detailed observations of practice conducted in 125 Year 5 classes attended byEPPE children, and measures the variation in teachers’ organisation and pedagogy and in pupils’ responses. Thebrief describes patterns of association between indicators of primary school effectiveness (measured usingvalue added approaches and national assessment results) and quality (measured by Ofsted inspection grades)and differences between Year 5 classes in observed practice and behaviour. The observations were conductedin a range of lessons with a particular emphasis on the core subjects. Key findings Pedagogy  •  There was significant variation in both teachers’ classroom practice and pupils’ behaviour in different Year5 classes. •  Levels of student engagement were found to be relatively high and classroom climates were generallypositive. Teacher detachment and levels of pupil ‘off task’ behaviour were generally low. •  There was considerable variation in the quality of the educational experiences of children in differentclasses, indicating that some children attend poorer quality settings, which has implications for thepromotion of greater equality of educational opportunities. •  Most teachers broadly followed the format of the National Strategies (Literacy and Maths) except for theuse of the plenary which was not observed in nearly half of classes. •  The quality of teaching and pupil response was found to be consistently higher in classes where a plenarywas used in both literacy and numeracy lessons and lowest in classes where no plenary was used in eithersubject. The impact of school context  •  The incidence of poor pupil behaviour and classroom disorganisation was observed to be greater in schoolswith higher levels of social disadvantage, measured by the percentage of pupils eligible for free schoolmeals (FSM). The quality of pedagogy was also found to be poorer in schools with higher levels of socialdisadvantage. Associations between classroom practice and measures of ‘effectiveness’  •  Observed practice was found to be better in schools that had been rated more positively by OfstedInspectors in earlier inspections (particularly in schools rated more highly on overall leadership and schooleffectiveness). This suggests that the practice of Year 5 teachers in more effective schools is related tothe overall quality of the school and its leadership. •  Significant positive associations were also found between Ofsted judgements of school effectiveness andimprovement since the last inspection and teachers’ use of a plenary in literacy and numeracy lessons. •  Several aspects of observed practice were also found to be weakly related to better value added outcomesin English and Maths. R  ESEARCH  The Aims of EPPE 3-11 This Research Brief focuses on the results ofdetailed observation of 125 Year 5 classes in apurposive sample of 125 primary schools with arange of effectiveness and from differentgeographical areas. Here we identify the extent ofvariations in classroom practice and pupil behaviourand patterns of association with measures of schooleffectiveness and quality, and with indicators ofthe social disadvantage of school context.EPPE 3-11 uses a number of measures of primaryschool ‘effectiveness’ and ‘quality’. The‘effectiveness’ of a school was estimated bycomparing linked Key Stage 1 (KS1) to Key Stage 2(KS2) national assessment results using multilevel‘value added’ analyses. The analysis madecomparisons between classroom observations, valueadded measures, and Ofsted judgements of‘effectiveness’, ‘improvement’, ‘leadership’ and‘quality of teaching and learning’ etc., as well aslinking contextual information about socialdisadvantage (% of pupils’ eligible for free schoolmeals [FSM]).The research tested the applicability, to a largesample of Year 5 classes in England, of twoobservation instruments designed to measure thequality of practice and range of teacher and pupilbehaviours. This allows comparisons with otherinternational research. Observations using theClassroom Observation Schedule (Pianta)instrument were conducted at the start of themorning and afternoon, with a particular focus onliteracy and numeracy lessons, although science andother social science (e.g. history or geography)lessons were also observed. A total of 153, 20minute literacy and 149 numeracy sessions wereobserved. A second instrument, the InstructionalEffectiveness Instrument (Stipek) was used in 93classes to observe complete literacy and numeracylessons (approx. one hour each).The two instruments identified importantdifferences in observed practice and behaviour andwere found to distinguish between better andpoorer quality classroom experiences for Year 5pupils. Key Findings explored: Pedagogical practices and classroom organisationClassroom observations showed considerablevariation in the quality of learning experiences. Theextent of the variation indicates that pupils indifferent Year 5 classes can have quite differenteducational experiences. Despite evidence of risingstandards across primary schools associated withthe National Strategies, it appears that qualityremains uneven. This was particularly evident inimportant domains such as: ‘Richness ofinstructional methods’, ‘Using basic skills in thecontext of problem solving’ and the ‘Development ofhigher order thinking skills’. Characteristics ofclassroom that were rated more highly in theseareas were: ‘thought provoking’ reciprocaldiscussions, children using hypothesis toexperiment with a range of ways of tackling aproblem and teachers modelling problem solving. Inaround a fifth of classes relatively little use ofevaluative feedback was seen, while approximately17% of classes had very low ratings for ‘Richness ofinstruction’. Pupils in such classes therefore hadpoorer learning environments than those in typicalclasses. Teaching analytic skills   – There was little or none ofthis pedagogical practice observed in around 30%of Year 5 classes in the sample. ‘Analysis’ in thiscontext includes ‘higher order’ critical thinkingskills of analysis, inference, application,interpretation, problem solving, and planning. Student engagement   - Generally, levels of studentengagement were found to be relatively high andclassroom climates positive, although in a smallminority of classes this was not the case. Teacherdetachment was usually low and encouragingly little‘off task’ pupil behaviour was observed. The levelsof ‘off task’ behaviour observed were lower thanthose reported in findings from classroom studiesconducted in the 1980s. Organisation of teaching   – Overall the time spent indifferent groupings (e.g. whole class, individual etc.)was found to accord with the National Strategies(Literacy/Numeracy) recommendations for dailylessons, with the exception of the use of theplenary session (see below). More time in wholeclass (56%) than individual work (36%) wasobserved, and group work was found to be lesscommon (9%). These findings differ from earlier  primary school studies where individual work tendedto be more common than whole class work, butdifferences in definitions in different observationinstruments make direct comparisons difficult(Galton et al. 1999). Teachers appear to be makingmore use of ‘interactive whole class teaching’ asrecommended in the National Strategies.However, some authors, such as Smith et al. (2004),have argued that ‘interactive whole class’ teachingstrategies have not dramatically transformedtraditional patterns of whole class interaction.Furthermore, Alexander (2004) suggests that thebenefits of ‘Dialogic Teaching’ 1 will only be realisedwhen teachers recognise that it: “…demands bothpupil engagement and teacher intervention. And theprinciple means by which pupils actively engage andconstructively intervene is through talk”(Alexander, 2004, authors emphasis). ‘Group work’   - Observations of pupils in large andsmall groups were very rare (except in Sciencewhere 11% of observations were in groups).Teachers varied in the extent to which theyencouraged pupil co-operation in both the type oftasks they assigned and the level of co-operationthey encouraged. The SPRinG study (Blatchford etal, 2004) is an intervention study which promotespositive teacher and pupil interactions. Thisresearch indicates that there can be benefits fromcollaborative group work at KS2 as pupils engage inmore (and more sustained) interactions with otherpupils. Our research indicates that in many of theYear 5 classes observed such group work wasuncommon. The Plenary  Most schools broadly followed the format of theNational Strategies (Literacy and Maths) exceptfor the use of plenary. Around a third of classesobserved used a plenary in both literacy andnumeracy. In half the classes a plenary wasobserved in one but not the other subject. Inapproximately a quarter no plenary was observed ineither lesson. The quality of teaching was found tobe significantly higher in classes where plenarieswere used for both literacy and numeracy, andlowest in classes where plenaries were absent. The 1 Broadly equivalent conceptions include ‘mutualist and dialecticalpedagogy’ (Bruner), ‘dialogic enquiry’ (Wells), ‘interthinking’(Mercer), ‘dialogue of enquiry’ (Lindfor), and in the early years,‘sustained shared thinking’ (Siraj-Blatchford,  et al  , (2002) absence of the plenary in around half of literacyand numeracy lessons observed (51% Literacy, 49%numeracy) is of particular concern as this part ofthe lesson is intended to give opportunities forfeedback for improvement and consolidation oflearning. Black and Wiliam (1998) argue that‘informative’ feedback is ‘an essential component ofclassroom work’ (1998 p9) that can lead to raisedstandards of achievement. By missing this part ofthe lesson some teachers may be reducing theopportunity to provide consolidation. In particularthe use of more demanding higher ordercommunication is typically more common in plenaryand other whole class activities.Disadvantaged groupsThe quality of teaching tends to be poorer inschools with higher levels of social disadvantageand this has implications for the social inclusion andraising standards agenda. In such schools, Year 5classes scored significantly lower on particularaspects of the ‘quality’ of teaching. Inmathematics, there were fewer opportunities forpupils to practice basic skills in the context ofproblem solving (which encourages higher orderthinking). There was also less ‘social support forlearning’ characterised by everyone’s contributionbeing taken seriously and pupil errors being used asopportunities to explore learning. There were alsofewer opportunities for children to demonstratetheir subject knowledge.In literacy, pupils in schools serving moredisadvantaged intakes spent more time in ‘off task’talk (student engagement) and their classroomswere less likely to be well organised, withtransitions between activities being poorly managed.In addition, the classroom climate (extent to whichpupils are respected and have autonomy) and socialsupport for learning (high expectations) weresignificantly and negatively associated with thelevel of social disadvantage (measured by % ofpupils eligible for FSM).The classroom observations that identifieddisruptive behaviour, discipline episodes and class‘chaos’ suggest that pupil behaviour was generallygood in the large majority of classes. However,behaviour tended to be worse in schools wherethere were relatively more children eligible forfree school meals (% FSM). The results alsoindicated that poor organisation of work and classes  by some Year 5 teachers was associated with levelof social disadvantage (e.g. on the item ‘chaos’).These results warrant further investigation, givenconcerns about the gap in attainment related topupil background which has been shown to increaseas children progress through school. Our findingsmay reflect the influence of lower teacherexpectations or the recruitment of lessexperienced or poorly performing teachers inschools serving more disadvantaged communities.They may also link to difficulties relating to pupilbehaviour, attitudes and attendance. In fact it maybe all of these, ‘expectations’ do not have to be‘self-fulfilling’ to constitute a problem, as Good andBrophy (1997) have argued: “Expectations tend tobe self-sustaining. They affect both  perception  , bycausing teachers to be alert for what they expectand less likely to notice what they do not expect,and  interpretation  , by causing teachers to interpret(and perhaps distort) what they see so that it isconsistent with their expectations. Someexpectations persist even though they do notcoincide with the facts (Good & Brophy, 1990,p441).Associations between classroom practice andmeasure of ‘effectiveness’One method used in the EPPE research to explorethe ‘effectiveness’ of all primary schools (over16,000) in England was to analyse matched pupilnational assessment scores from KS1 to KS2 takingaccount of the background characteristics of thechild and the school (a form of contextualised valueadded based on data for 2002-4). The analysis istherefore based on the ‘residual’ scores for eachschool in the three core subjects (English, mathsand science calculated separately). The value addedresults were then extracted and compared with theobservation sample of 125 focal schools. Thisidentified schools where children generally madeprogress ‘as expected’, ‘better than’ or ‘less well’than predicted by their prior attainment andbackground.Moderately strong ‘between-subject’ statisticalresults were identified indicating schools that weremore effective in one core subject tend to be moreeffective in others, while those that are lesseffective in one area also tend to be less effectivein others. In addition the extent of stability inschool effectiveness was investigated across years.Several aspects of teachers’ observed practiceswere found to be significantly associated with thevalue added analyses of progress in Maths andEnglish in KS2.Although only weak to moderate, such associationsshow some interesting links between overall schooleffectiveness and specific features of classroompractices. Thus they provide some helpful insightsinto what features of effective practice andpedagogical approaches may promote better pupilprogress.In English three aspects of pedagogy werenoteworthy: having a positive classroom climate(safe and respectful, opportunities forcollaboration, sensitive discipline); good classroomroutines (maximised use of instructional time, wellprepared materials) and the developing of higherorder thinking skills in the context of ‘reading asmeaning making’. This involved teachersencouraging children when reading to go beyonddecoding text, and teachers drawing on pupils’previous knowledge and reasoning to encouragepupils to evaluate critically their comprehension.In Maths, as well as having good classroom routines,three other areas of mathematical pedagogicalknowledge were associated with better outcomes inthe value added measures: ‘use of maths analyses’,‘depth of knowledge’ and ‘locus of maths authority’.In ‘use of maths analyses’ higher ratings wereassociated with children being given opportunitiesto construct srcinal ways to solve maths problemsand being allowed to make conjectures with justifications. ‘Depth of knowledge’ focused on thedepth to which maths knowledge is treated in class.This was evident when teachers structured theirlessons so that most children were engaged in oneor more of the following: demonstrating theirunderstanding of the problematic nature ofinformation or ideas, demonstrating complexunderstandings by arriving at a reasoned, supportedconclusion or explaining how they solved a complex  problem. The ‘locus of maths authority’ is theextent to which the teacher and the pupil hold eachother accountable for convincing themselves andeach other that their reasoning is sound. Inclassrooms where this occurred the teacher oftenanswered a question with a question or offeredinstrumental help (good scaffolding), pushing pupilsto make their own decisions.The second method of exploring ‘effectiveness’ andits relationship to classroom practices was to  compare the observations of our 125 ‘focal’ schoolswith Ofsted judgements of quality of provisionfrom the most recent inspection reports(conducted prior to the observation datacollection). Classroom observations were matchedwith Ofsted global judgements on overall school‘effectiveness’, ‘improvement since last inspection’,‘leadership’, ‘quality of teaching and learning’ andinspectors’ ratings of pupil outcomes (attendance,attitudes and behaviour). The results indicatedsignificant, though modest positive associationswith a number of our observational measures ofteacher pedagogy and teacher and pupil behaviour.We found that teachers’ observed practice in Y5classes tended to be ‘better’ in those schools thathad previously been rated more positively in theprofessional judgement of inspectors. Ofparticular note were the positive associationsbetween Ofsted judgements and higher observedratings of ‘productive use of instructional time’(smooth transitions, good planning, efficientroutines for when pupils finish work), ‘pupil selfreliance’ (where pupils display autonomy, initiativeand are self directed), ‘richness of instructionalmethods’ (intellectually engaging and thoughtprovoking lessons which contain reciprocaldiscussions) and ‘positive classroom climate’ (wherethe emotional and social tone of the classroom wasrespectful, safe and welcoming).The positive associations between the quality ofoverall school leadership and better classroompractice identified by observations supports theview that overall school influences can affectclassroom practice and the conclusion that goodschool leadership tends to promote better teachingand learning and thus better outcomes for children.Generally the findings indicate links between moreglobal constructs of school effectiveness, asdefined by inspectors and more specific aspects ofobserved classroom practice related to the qualityof teaching. The classroom practices of individualteachers appear to be positively influenced directlyor indirectly by the overall effectiveness andleadership of their school.The correlations between Ofsted ratings of qualityand the ‘value added’ indicators with the classroomlevel observations indicate that the classroomobservation schedules used by researchers in the125 ‘focal’ schools allow important features ofclassroom practice associated with better outcomesfor children in English primary schools to beidentified. These analyses improve understandingof the extent of variation in school and classroomprocesses in Year 5, and provides insights into moreeffective practices and pedagogical approaches. Conclusions and Key Messages This research brief highlights new findings on thequality of teaching and learning in Year 5 Englishprimary classes. The results are relevant to policymakers and practitioners concerned with improvingpractice and promoting greater equity by closingthe attainment gap associated with socialdisadvantage. There are implications for thefurther development of the National Strategiesand the results highlight areas of possible weaknessin the teaching in some classes that could benefitfrom further guidance and professionaldevelopment. The findings are of relevance to theExcellence and Enjoyment (DfES, 2003) agenda andthe promotion of personalised learning. Theyshould also to be of interest to Ofsted inspectorsand to schools’ approaches to the improvement ofclassroom practice through self evaluation andreview. Key messages  •  There is wide variation in teachers’ practice andchildren’s responses in Year 5 classes and this islikely to affect pupils’ educational outcomes. •  The quality of classroom practice is associatedwith the use of plenary sessions in literacy andnumeracy lessons. Practice was found to bebetter in classes that used plenaries in both ofthese subjects and poorer in classes where noplenary was observed in either. Plenaries werepresent in only approximately half of theliteracy and numeracy lessons observed. •  The quality of Year 5 pedagogy and organisationand pupil behaviour is poorer in schools withhigher levels of social disadvantage in theirpupil intakes. This may reflect lowerexpectations, difficulties in recruiting/retaininggood/ experienced teachers and the greaterbehavioural difficulties associated withteaching in more challenging contexts. Thequality of Year 5 practice observed was betterin schools that had been rated more highly interms of overall school leadership,effectiveness and improvement on the previousinspection. Such schools appear to provide amore positive context for teaching and learning.
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