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Eng: The Education Endowment Foundation actively undermines the Government's official guidance for reading instruction

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:06 am
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
I describe a very worrying state of affairs in England whereby the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) undermines the official guidance for reading instruction - that is, the Department for Education's guidance and even Ofsted's guidance for the schools' inspectorate.

And yet the Government has committed a huge sum of public funding to the EEF for the 'National Tutoring Programme' for which the EEF promotes the literacy programmes on its 'Promising Projects List'. This suggests that a national scale tutoring programme in light of the coronavirus pandemic will be based on programmes and practice that the Government itself does not recommend for reading instruction.

The EEF also promotes the Reading Recovery intervention programme and literacy programmes modelled on Reading Recovery. Not surprising, perhaps, as the leading personnel in the EEF are Reading Recovery trained and clearly committed to the approach of RR.

I've written a blog post about this at my 'The Naked Emperor' blog. This includes an 'evidence trail' sent to me by someone who discovered the worrying, and undermining, literacy guidance provided by the Education Endowment Foundation in contravention to all the developments for reading instruction in England since parliamentary inquiries began in 2003:

The Education Endowment Foundation is actively undermining the Government in England and here is the evidence trail to show this


https://debbiehepplewhite.com/the-educa ... show-this/

Re: Eng: The Education Endowment Foundation actively undermines the Government's official guidance for reading instructi

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:16 am
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
In response to my post on this topic, Susan Godsland contacted me to query the evidence for the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) promoting Reading Recovery, she wrote:

The EEF say that RR, ''is highlighted by the Early Intervention Foundation guidebook for the positive impacts found in several high-quality evaluations conducted in America''. https://guidebook.eif.org.uk/programme/reading-recovery

Would it be possible to ask James Chapman and Jennifer Buckingham to comment on this research review for us?


I contacted Professors James Chapman and Jennifer Buckingham for their comments on the research in the EIF guidebook.

James is very unimpressed and responded with this information:


Study 1, by Schwartz only includes assessments from Clay’s Observation Survey plus reading book level. No standardised assessments were used, which has often drawn criticism by researchers who have examined RR.

Study 2, by May et al. was a large study funded mainly by Obama’s i3 stimulus fund following the global financial crisis. Bill Tunmer and I published a critique of the study in the US journal, Reading Psychology. Copy attached. In essence, this study had no proper control group, but a variety of comparison conditions; in violation of RR guidelines and Marie Clay’s explicit recommendation, various schools in the study did not put their “hardest to teach” (Clay) students into the programme, presumably because they didn’t think RR would do any good; the “success” rate was only 53%.

I’ve also attached another paper Bill and I wrote for the UK journal Education Review, focussing on RR’s unrecovered readers.

Interesting that Study 1 & 2 received a rating of 3 out of 4. Those who provided the ratings might need to take a graduate level research methods course.

Study 3, by D’Agostino et al received a rating of 2, which is generous. That study had numerous caveats about the efficacy of RR.

In the US, Pam Cook et al have been highly critical of the May et al i3 scale-up of RR. She and the others are not academics and have done a tremendous piece of work taking the May et al study to task. Cook et al have written a number of pieces about this. I’ve attached the one that is probably most germane.

Jennifer Buckingham identified problems with a RR study undertaken out of the London Institute of Education. I’ll leave it for her to comment!



James kindly sent me the following reviews of the RR research to support his comments:


Reading Recovery’s unrecovered learners: Characteristics and issues

James W. Chapman* and William E. Tunmer

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand


https://debbiehepplewhite.com/wp-conten ... e-2019.pdf


The Reading Wars and Reading Recovery: What Educators, Families, and Taxpayers Should Know

Pamela Cook
Deborah R. Rodes
Kay L. Lipsitz


https://debbiehepplewhite.com/wp-conten ... 8-2-PB.pdf


Is Reading Recovery an Effective Intervention for Students with Reading Difficulties? A Critique of the i3 Scale-Up Study

James W. Chapman & William E. Tunmer


https://debbiehepplewhite.com/wp-conten ... -Study.pdf

Re: Eng: The Education Endowment Foundation actively undermines the Government's official guidance for reading instructi

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:49 am
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
Here is Professor Jennifer Buckingham's paper where she dismantles the UK KPMG study - and below that, an article by Jeff Staufenberg in 'Schools Week' on the same topic:

Reading Recovery: A Failed Investment

Jennifer Buckingham

07 February 2019


https://www.cis.org.au/publications/pol ... nvestment/

Jennifer introduces her paper thus:


Reading Recovery is an early intervention program for students in Year 1 who are having difficulty learning to read. It is widely used in Australia, the USA, Canada, England, Ireland, France and Denmark. It is endorsed by many leading educators and teacher professional organisations.

Yet numerous studies of Reading Recovery have provided no sound evidence that it has sustained positive effects on children’s reading achievement in the medium or long-term, despite its widespread use and high cost. A large Australian evaluation found that it had a negative impact in the medium term.

A recent study in the UK which claimed to find a large long-term advantage of participation in Reading Recovery has since been revealed to have been a selective and incomplete analysis of the data.

The publication of misleading data is not an esoteric academic issue. Governments and schools have spent, and continue to spend, many millions on Reading Recovery, bolstered by research findings that purport to show a high level of effectiveness.

More importantly, there are large opportunity costs for the children with reading difficulties who do not receive the most effective instruction, with profound impacts on their educational achievement and wellbeing.


[My bold and red in the quote above]

KPMG Foundation report left out negative findings

by Jess Staufenberg



https://schoolsweek.co.uk/kpmg-foundati ... -findings/

An education foundation left out negative findings from a study of its flagship literacy programme.

In December the KPMG Foundation, the charity arm of the global consultancy firm, released the findings of a major study into the Reading Recovery programme.

The report said pupils on the programme, which the charity’s website describes as its “flagship project”, were twice as likely to get five good GCSEs.

But the original report, put together by academics at the UCL Institute of Education and seen by Schools Week, showed findings relating to a comparison group were left out of the version released by KPMG.

Re: Eng: The Education Endowment Foundation actively undermines the Government's official guidance for reading instructi

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:11 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
I provided links to my blog post at 'The Naked Emperor' and this thread to the DDOLL network, this is another response with reference to the scenario in Australia:


Unfortunately the Australian Government is also sending teachers down this rabbit hole with links from the newly launched Literacy Hub for the Year 1 Phonics Check referencing the same descriptions for phonics via the Evidence for Learning website. Links provided below.

Most concerning is their discouragement of phonics instruction for older students:

"For older readers who are still struggling to develop reading skills, phonics approaches may be less successful than other approaches such as Reading comprehension strategies and Meta-cognition and self-regulation. The difference may indicate that children aged 10 or above who have not succeeded using phonics approaches previously require a different approach, or that these students have other difficulties related to vocabulary and comprehension which phonics does not target."

What exactly are these "different approaches" and who determines the quality of the phonics instruction used for children who have not succeeded?


https://literacyhub.edu.au/teachers.html

https://evidenceforlearning.org.au/the- ... -appendix/

https://evidenceforlearning.org.au/the- ... s/phonics/


Seems our governments do not do adequate research before linking with these resources, which significantly undermines the introduction of the Year 1 Phonics Check in Australia and the evidence for systematic synthetic phonics instruction for all students, particularly struggling readers regardless of age.


Disheartening!

Kelly King
Co-founder & Chair
Dyslexia Mid North Coast
Australia



When I saw the quote above [I have added the red], this took me right back to a post I did via my phonicsintervention.org site when I complained to Minister Nick Gibb about the description of 'Phonics' on the Education Endowment Foundation, see here:

https://phonicsintervention.org/2017/01 ... -projects/

Note at my blog post, this extract:


EEF: Phonics approaches have been consistently found to be effective in supporting younger readers
For older readers who are still struggling to develop reading skills, phonics approaches may be less successful than other approaches such as Reading comprehension strategies and Meta-cognition and self-regulation. The difference may indicate that children aged 10 or above who have not succeeded using phonics approaches previously require a different approach, or that these students have other difficulties related to vocabulary and comprehension which phonics does not target.

Debbie: This statement above is very misleading which is concerning. The age of the learners does not matter. If they have a weakness in alphabetic code knowledge and/or the blending (synthesising) skill, then that is the knowledge and/or skills gap that must be addressed for the sake of their life-long literacy, learning, job prospects and self-esteem.


Meanwhile, popular teacher-blogger, Greg Ashman, asks if the EEF's much referred-to 'meta-cognition and self-regulation' are really 'a thing':

https://gregashman.files.wordpress.com/ ... iginal.pdf

The meta-cognition and self-regulation chimera

Submitted Abstract

One important strand of the Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) Teaching and Learning Toolkit is known as ‘meta-cognition and self-regulation’. The Toolkit claims that for very low cost, the implementation of a meta-cognition and self-regulation strategy will deliver 8 months of additional progress for students. How should teachers interpret these claims and what do they imply for the classroom? On examination, the category of meta-cognition and self-regulation seems to have been stitched together from a range of different beasts, much like the mythical chimera.

Re: Eng: The Education Endowment Foundation actively undermines the Government's official guidance for reading instructi

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:15 am
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
Here is Stephen Parker's response:


Hello Debbie.

I agree that the EEF, in trying to hide behind the label "systematic," and in saying that the jury is still out regarding the efficacy of synthetic phonics over analytic and analogy phonics, "beggars belief" - especially since, just north of you, the Clackmannanshire study put this notion to rest years ago.

Stephen


Stephen is a pioneer for research-informed reading instruction, this is his very informative site:

https://www.parkerphonics.com

About phonics

The word "phonics" has multiple meanings. It can mean "analytic" phonics, "analogy" phonics, or "onset-and-rime" phonics. But none of these are methods for teaching reading. They all rely upon memorization of sight words, on guessing strategies, and on discovery learning.

Synthetic phonics, by contrast, is the only type of phonics that functions as a stand-alone method for teaching both reading and spelling. Synthetic phonics uses neither sight words nor guessing strategies. From the very start of reading instruction, children are taught the basic sounds of English and the letters that symbolize those sounds.

As soon as 5 - 8 such letter/sound correspondences are mastered, the child can begin authentic reading, that is, taking an unknown word and blending all the sounds of its individual letters, left to right, into a full pronunciation. This process is called "sounding out" a word. It is also called decoding.

Properly decoding a word a few times automatically creates a sight word in a process called orthographic mapping. It's the only way to teach reading in a manner that respects the reasoning ability of the child. Please see my blog for more information.