Evaluation Summary Age range Primary and Secondary (Year 6 and 7) Number of pupils c.150 Number of schools c.22

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1 Norfolk Council Rapid Phonics Durham University Bernardine King Evaluation Summary Age range Primary and Secondary (Year 6 and 7) Number of pupils c.150 Number of schools c.22 Design Randomised controlled trial Primary Reading Evaluation of Rapid Phonics, Norfolk Council Introduction This study seeks to investigate the effectiveness of a twelve week programme of Rapid Phonics on the reading of a group of disadvantaged pupils with poor reading as they progress from Year 6 to Year 7. Children s decoding skills and reading fluency are hoped to improve through this structured course which teaches a range of skills including mastery of simple phonemes and irregular orthography, progressing towards a grasp of complex sentence structures. Bespoke reading books are part of the programme, which are designed to consolidate this progress in reading within a textual framework. Previous studies in Norfolk, which have not involved a control group, have demonstrated a 3.8 month average progression in reading skills for every month of the original Sound Discovery tuition on which Rapid Phonics is based. Design The design is a randomised controlled trial comprising a treatment group of approximately 150 students, and a waiting list control group of the same number of children. The control group will receive the intervention at the end of the study, in Year 7, and it will be delivered by school staff trained by the local authority. Sampling and Recruitment Approximately 300 children will be recruited from 22 primary schools in Norwich, Breckland and Great Yarmouth.

2 Treatment The intervention will take a total of twelve weeks, consisting of three sessions a week taking place during the school day. The lessons aim to make decoding enjoyable, encouraging fluency through quick, snappy exercises. Training will be in small groups and children will receive a short initial placement test to establish their point of entry into the programme. Specially trained staff from the local authority will deliver the intervention. The children will experience the intervention in the last six weeks of Year 6 in primary school and during the first term of their secondary school. There will be a catch-up session in the last week of the summer holidays between the two intervention phases during which the staff delivering the intervention will recap some of the main points of the phonics programme from primary school, in preparation for its continuation in secondary school. Initial Selection Criteria Children will be chosen from the participant schools on the basis of their KS2 English SATs predictions being at or below level 4c and a standardised score on the GL Single Word Reading Test of less than 100. Most of the selected children will attract pupil premium. Decisions about the participation of eligible children with special educational needs will be made by the schools and the parents, who will decide if taking part in the study would be appropriate for the individual child. The intention is to have 300 children in the sample. Focussed on three areas of Norfolk, five secondary schools across Norfolk and their feeder primary schools, will be participate. Allocation to Groups Norfolk will provide a list of names, dates of birth and predicted End of KS2 English scores for those children who have predictions of 4c or lower in the participating schools. These data will be communicated to Durham in a secure fashion, conforming to data protection regulations. Norfolk will conduct the GL New Group Reading assessment (NGRT), PhAB nonword reading test and GL Single Word Reading Test (SWRT) as the pre-test measures. The Durham statistician will randomly assign each child whose SWRT standardised score is below 100, to either the intervention or control group. Those whose SWRT standardised scores are 100 or above will be eliminated from the study at this point. The stratification in this random assignment will therefore be by school. Durham will inform Norfolk of the pupils allocations. Measures The chief outcome measure for the impact evaluation will be the NGRT score (reading comprehension), as this is the reading measure used across the transition projects and allows comparisons between them. However, as the emphasis in the Norfolk study is on 2

3 phonics and decoding, the Single Word Reading Test and the PhAB nonword reading test will provide information at the decoding and word identification levels. In this way, it will be possible to identify if any reading improvements in the children s decoding translate in a relatively short period into progress in comprehension. Nonword reading will be a measure of the success of the phonological route to reading, the grapheme-phoneme correspondences and phoneme blending taught during the programme. Therefore, there will be three outcome measures intended to assess the main aspects of reading competence: a group reading comprehension assessment in the form of the GL New Group Reading Test (NGRT); an individually administered paper test of single word decoding (GL Single Word Reading Test: SWRT), and a nonword reading test which is part of the Phonological Assessment Battery (PhAB), which is a one-to-one paper test of graphemephoneme conversion and phoneme blending. Due to the separation of the study into two phases, it is necessary to measure decoding progress at the beginning and end of the Year 6 treatment phase and at the start and end of the Year 7 treatment phase. Therefore, the SWRT, which has parallel forms, will be carried out at the start and end of the Year 6 intervention phase and at the beginning and end of the Year 7 intervention. The NGRT, which has parallel forms, and the PhAB nonword reading, which does not have parallel forms, will be used only as the pre-test before the commencement of the Year 6 intervention and again in the post-test, at the end of the study in Yr7. Post-testing will be carried out in a blinded fashion, the children in the treatment and control groups being tested at the same time and invigilators will prevent any influences from teachers or teaching assistants. Summary of the Measures: Stage of Rapid Phonics Programme 1st Skill the Stage is Intended to Teach Assessment Aspect of Reading Tested by Measure A Primary or a Secondary? Secondary Phonemic relationships PhABnonword reading test Phonics- gpcs, phoneme blending, mainly regular spellings. 2nd Irregular orthography Single Word Reading Test Regular and irregular word reading without a context. Secondary 3rd Complex sentences New Group Reading Test Decoding and understanding Primary 3

4 words in sentences and text. Sample Size Calculations The minimum number of participants in the experimental group has been calculated as 100, with a further 100 in the control group. These calculations are based on the following assumptions: that the minimum effect size is 0.28; minimum power value is 0.8; p< 0.05; 0.7 correlation with covariates, and with half the sample in the control group. Process Evaluation A light touch process evaluation will be carried out by Durham University during which observations are intended to include: some of the training of the staff who will deliver the intervention; a Rapid Phonics session in Year 6, Year 7 and at the summer school. Interviews with staff who deliver the programme will take place, as well as an online survey of the staff. Analysis The primary outcome measure is the New Group Reading Test of comprehension, and the secondary measures are the Single Word Reading Test and the Phonological Assessment Battery test of nonword reading. Sub groups of children in receipt of free school meals will form part of the analysis. Appropriate statistical analysis of the quantitative outcome measures (such as use of GLM, Ancova taking account of pre-test levels and Cohen s d Effect size) will be conducted by a statistician at Durham University in order to establish the efficacy of the whole intervention. Decoding data will also be analysed in terms of progress in Year 6 versus Year 7. Qualitative as well as some quantitative data will be collated and analysed from the staff interviews and questionnaires. Perceptions of the intervention and its effects will therefore be included in the data analysis. Possible problem areas in the delivery of the intervention and the study (such as deviations from the planned timetable for the intervention, pupil exclusions or drop out, etc.) will also be identified by these more qualitative measures. This knowledge will be useful to ensure an up-scaling of the intervention, should it be shown to be effective. Reporting the Results The evaluators will produce a full report at the end of the analysis phase of the study. The results will be reported to CONSORT standards. 4

5 Evaluation timeline: Activity Detail Responsibility Time-scale Recruitment of schools Aiming to recruit 300 children from 22 schools. Norfolk December 2012 February 2013 Ethical Approval Ethical Approval Order the Assessments Ethical approval and permission for the schools and pupils participation, including sharing data with Durham To collect and analyse data from participating schools, and produce a report in which anonymity is preserved NGRT 3a SWRT 1st Form SWRT 2 nd Form PHAB Norfolk Council December 2012 January 2013 Durham December 2012 January 2013 Durham January February 2013 Selection of children Children will be selected on the basis of their predicted KS2 SATs being lower than Level 4c and they attract pupil premium. Norfolk February March 2013 Pre-intervention meeting with project team and schools Pre-intervention testing Collation of pupil information, KS2 predicted levels, NGRT scores, SWRT and PHAB scores Assignment to intervention or control group To explain the project, including the reasons for random assignment of pupils, share the time table and introduce Durham as the project evaluators New Group Reading Test 3A, 1 st SWRT and PhAB Based on NGRT, SWRT & PhAB. 5 Norfolk to organize and Durham to attend February 2013 Norfolk April 2013 Durham May 2013 Durham May 2013 Rapid Phonics training Norfolk February May 2013 Observation of 1 Rapid Phonics training Durham March 2013

6 session Implementation of Norfolk May June 2013 intervention Observation of Durham June 2013 implementation of Rapid Phonics in one school in Year 6, interview with the person implementing the intervention On-line survey of Durham June-July 2013 teachers in primary/junior schools implementing Rapid Phonics Interim assessment 2 nd SWRT Norfolk July 2013 Summer school Norfolk August 2013 Observation of 1 Durham August 2013 summer school session Baseline assessment before implementation of Rapid Phonics in 1 st SWRT Norfolk September 2013 Secondary Schools Data entry of SWRT start of secondary tests Order NGRT 3B assessments Observation of Rapid Phonics in 1 secondary school and interview with teacher implementing the programme On-line survey of teachers in secondary schools implementing Rapid Phonics Final assessment of pupils Collation of pupil information from all assessments NGRT3B, 2 nd SWRT and PHAB Durham September October 2013 Durham September 2013 Durham October 2013 Durham October 2013 Norfolk October 2013 Durham December 2013 Analysis of data Durham December 2013 January 2014 Report Durham January 2014 February 2014 Prepare academic publication of project Durham and Norfolk February 2014 onwards 6

7 Risk Table Risk Likely consequence Mitigating actions KS2 data are not provided by some schools in time. Loss of project personnel from Durham. 1. Delayed onset of testing. 2. Shortened intervention period. 3. Schools begin testing and intervention at different times, which could affect the results. Disruption to project. Norfolk phones the schools. Durham has staff who can be brought into the project at short notice. 7

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