The Literacy Octopus

Communicating and engaging with research

The Literacy Octopus is a large multi-arm randomised controlled trial, investigating a range of different methods of communicating research to schools and engaging them in research evidence. The project will test ways of engaging schools with research evidence from four different organisations, using two separate RCTs. The IEE is one of these four organisations.

How will the trial work?

Each delivery partner has developed interventions of different intensity:

  • One ‘passive’ intervention that communicates research in a way that is cheap and scalable, and
  • One ‘active’ intervention that requires more involvement from schools but may be more effective at changing teacher behaviour and ultimately improving attainment.

Each programme has a slightly different theory of change: some outline evidence-based teaching methods directly; some aim to influence school-level decisions about how to allocate funding; others encourage more peer-to-peer discussion about research findings. The activities will be aimed at Key Stage 2 teachers in primary schools, with a focus on improving literacy teaching.

780 schools will be recruited, with some receiving the light-touch interventions and others participating in more active interventions. In a separate trial, over 8,000 schools will be sent materials or emails about research findings by these organisations.

The trial will run from 2014 to 2016. The first evaluation report will be published in Spring 2017; with a follow-up report on subsequent KS2 outcomes in Spring 2018.

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