Classroom Talk, Social Disadvantage & Educational Attainment: raising standards, closing the gap
CPRT in collaboration with the University of York
Supported 2014-17 by the Educational Endowment Foundation
Professor Robin Alexander, Director and intervention lead (University of Cambridge and CPRT)
Professor Frank Hardman, Director and research lead (University of York)
Dr Jan Hardman, Discourse analysis lead (University of York)
Dr Taha Rajab, Research Fellow (University of York)
David Reedy, Schools Liasion Officer, pilot stage (CPRT and UKLA)
Mark Longmore, Schools Liaison Officer, trial stage (CPRT)
This large-scale project, a joint initiative of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust and the University of York, addressed CPRT Priorities 1 (equity), 6 (curriculum) and 7 (pedagogy). It built on Robin Alexander’s work on dialogic teaching and on international research and aimed to improve the quality of classroom talk as a means of increasing pupils’ engagement, learning and attainment, especially in contexts of social disadvantage. In 2014-15 the project piloted a dialogic teaching professional development intervention in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. During 2015-16 the revised version of this was subjected to randomised control trial with 5000 pupils in primary schools in Birmingham, Bradford and Leeds. An independent evaluation was undertaken by a team from Sheffield Hallam University and its report was published in July 2017.
Headline finding. After a dialogic teaching intervention of just 20 weeks, pupils in the intervention group were up to two months ahead of their control group peers in standardised tests of English, maths and science. Dialogic teaching increases pupils’ engagement and significantly improves their learning outcomes across the curriculum.
Next steps. Robin Alexander’s new book A Dialogic Teaching Companion (Routledge 2020) builds on this project and on international research to provide an updated and expanded version of the dialogic teaching framework trialled in the EEF project, together with a framework for professional and school development. Order the book at Routledge.
Read the CPRT news story
Read the University of York press release.
Read the independent evaluation report on the outcomes of the randomised control trial.
Read the project’s internal evaluation report on the interview and video data.