Why evaluation is important

Louise Tracey reports the positive findings of a large-scale, national evaluation of Success for All in elementary schools, arguing that evaluations of this nature are possible, desirable, and have significant educational implications for both policy and practice

A THIRD OF CHILDREN IN THE UK LIVE IN poverty, and they are less likely to enter school with the emerging language skills necessary for early literacy achievement. Growing political support for evidence-based practice has highlighted literacy programs because of the importance of early literacy for a child’s later educational achievement. One important development has been the UK government’s support for synthetic phonics programs in elementary schools. Yet, evidence on effective beginning reading programs suggests that programs that do more than teach reading or phonics, for example, programs that include innovative teaching practices, such as cooperative learning, are more effective than those that do not. Common sense suggests a more comprehensive approach. However, common sense often confounds us, which is why we need evidence.

What we know
● We have conducted a large-scale, national evaluation of Success for All literacy in elementary schools in the UK.
● Both years of the study have found positive effect sizes on literacy measures in favor of the Success for All schools.
● Evaluations of this nature are possible, desirable, and have significant educational implications for both policy and practice.

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Published

February 2012