An intervention that trained teachers to improve and monitor the quality of classroom talk had a positive impact on primary students’ test scores in English, math, and science, a report published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in the UK reveals.
Seventy-six primary schools with higher-than-average proportions of disadvantaged students took part in a randomized control trial of the Dialogic Teaching intervention, which is designed to improve the quality of classroom talk as a means of increasing students’ engagement, learning, and achievement. Year 5 teachers in 38 schools (2,493 students), and a teacher mentor from each school, received resources and training from the delivery team, and then implemented the intervention over the course of the fall and spring terms in the 2015/16 school year. A control group of 38 schools (2,466 students) continued with business as usual. Following the intervention, students were tested in English, math, and science. The results showed that:
- Students in the intervention schools did better in the main outcome measures of English (ES = +0.16), science (ES = +0.12), and math (ES = +0.09) when compared with children in the control schools who didn’t receive the intervention.
- For students who received free school meals, the intervention had a higher impact on math (ES = +0.16), but around the same for English (ES = +0.12) and science (ES = +0.11).
- Teachers reported positive effects on student engagement and confidence, and on the whole the intervention was highly regarded by participating schools.
However, some teachers felt that it would take longer than two terms to fully embed a Dialogic Teaching approach in their classrooms.
Source (Open access): Jay, T., Willis, B., Thomas, P., Taylor, R., Moore, N., Burnett, C., …& Stevens, A. (2017). Dialogic Teaching : Evaluation report and executive summary. London: Education Endowment Foundation.