Using self-regulated strategy development to improve writing in Year 8

Description of the innovation
Teachers of Year 8 English pupils trialled the use of self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) to teach writing. This included discussing pupil attitudes to writing and developing confidence by employing positive self-talk statements. In addition, pupils were taught acronyms to help them approach and plan extended non-fiction writing including a report, a letter, a magazine article, and a speech.

Summary of the evaluation
The study involved a total of six classes of Year 8 pupils from one urban secondary school where there was a slightly higher than national average proportion of disadvantaged pupils. Seventy-seven pupils from three classes received the intervention whilst 78 pupils were taught as normal in three classes. All classes were mixed middle and lower prior-attainment groupings. Classes were randomly allocated to be either intervention or control classes. The evaluation was carried out over a year with pupils being taught the intervention to produce different non-fiction writing outcomes.

The effect size was measured by comparing pre-test scaled scores generated from No More Marking Proof of Progress test in the autumn term with post-test scaled scores in the summer term.

Summary of findings
The study found that the use of SRSD had a slight negative effect size for pupils in the intervention group (-0.02) and for the lower prior-attainment group (-0.09). However, there was a very slight positive effect size for pupils with special educational needs (+0.03) and for pupil premium pupils (+0.01). Ultimately as these effect sizes are so slight, they cannot be seen to have any value in a practical sense therefore the study found that the use of SRSD as a writing intervention has no discernible impact on pupil progress in writing in Year 8.

We did find that the use of this intervention may have a positive impact on pupils’ confidence with, and attitude to planning. Pupils reported in open and closed questions a positive response to the use of the planning element to help them develop and elaborate ideas in extended writing.

Year 8 pupils reported some improvement in levels of confidence and enjoyment in writing, however this was found in both the control and intervention groups. The staff who taught the intervention did find it a useful tool to implement and have used it with other year groups within the school, however this is alongside other planning tools to develop extended writing.

Lead school

  • Highfield School, Wolverhampton

Main findings

  • Effect size for pupils in the intervention group = -0.02
  • Effect size for the lower prior-attainment group = -0.09
  • Effect size for pupils with special educational needs = +0.03
  • Effect size for pupil premium pupils = +0.01

Download the protocol document