Research

Research

Our assessments in research

For over 35 years, we have provided schools with assessments that identify student potential, measure progress in core curriculum subjects, and identify barriers to learning or specific special educational needs.

Our paper and digital assessments are also frequently used in research projects and peer-reviewed academic research, including randomised controlled trials, the evaluation of standard interventions, multi-disciplinary research projects and PhD research – largely as our assessments provide researchers with the all-important national benchmark.

We develop, trial and standardise our assessments on sufficiently large and representative reference groups (to take one example, our Progress Test Series was standardised on over 84,000 children), so schools and researchers alike can be assured that they are valid, robust and reliable.

Our research partners include:

  • The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)
  • National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • Maths Assessment Resource Service (MARS), University of Nottingham
  • University of Reading

Our in-house team of psychometricians, statisticians and researchers contribute to the field of educational research, and we also publish our own research based on data from own assessments, as well as case studies of best practice.

If you are interested in using any of our assessments for research purposes, or want to find out more about the research we are involved in, please contact us at research@gl-assessment.co.uk or call 0330 123 5375.

Research Papers

Many of our assessments have been used in a number of educational research papers supported through the Educational Endowment Foundation and leading academic institutions. Please see a selection below.

 

A range of our assessments have been referenced in the following research papers:

Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT items), Progress in Maths 7 (Millennium Cohort Study edition), British Abilities Scale (BAS3)

The Millennium Cohort Study
Centre for Longitudinal Studies: UCL
Ongoing
The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is a multi-disciplinary research project following the lives of around 19,000 children born in the UK in 2000-01. The study has been tracking the Millennium Cohort children through their early childhood years and plans to follow them into adulthood. The following assessments from GL Assessment have been used at various stages of the study: CAT items, Progress in Maths 7 (Millennium Cohort Study edition) and British Ability Scales: Third Edition (BAS3).

Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4)

Young, C., McNamara, G., Brown, M., O’Hara, J. (2018) Adopting and adapting: school leaders in the age of data informed decision making, Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability
2018, April
The use of data-informed decision making is new to Irish education; this research cites the use of CAT4 within Irish schools to inform assessments and interventions that drive school improvements in light of the new demand for school self-evaluation.

Philosophy for Children
Education Endowment Foundation: Durham University
Philosophy for Children is an approach to teaching in which students participate in group dialogues focused on philosophical issues. The primary goal of this evaluation was to assess whether a year of P4C instruction for pupils in Years 4 and 5 would lead to higher academic attainment in terms of maths, reading, and writing. The project also assessed whether P4C instruction had an impact on cognitive abilities, and used our Cognitive Abilities Test as part of the evaluation.

 

New Group Reading Test (NGRT) / Single Word Spelling Test (SWST)

Units of Sound, Education Endowment Foundation: The Institute for Effective Education
2015, February
Units of Sound (UofS) is a computer-based phonics programme that helps struggling readers with their reading and spelling skills. It was implemented as an intervention in this project so as to evaluate the literacy catch-up of Year 7 students who had not achieved Level 4 in English by the end of KS2. They were assessed at baseline by NGRT, and then at follow-up by NGRT and SWST.

 

New Group Reading Test (NGRT)

Read Write Inc. Phonics and Fresh Start, Education Endowment Fund: American Institutes for Research
Ongoing
Both Fresh Start and Read Write Inc. Phonics apply a systematic teaching of phonics, matching the sounds that children have been taught with books that contain only those sounds, before examining improvements in reading comprehension and fluency. NGRT will be used to measure the project’s success, and an evaluation report will be published in Summer 2019. 

Reciprocal Reading, Education Endowment Fund: Queen’s University, Belfast
Ongoing
This project is being led by FFT Literacy, and the trial will form part of the North East Primary Literacy Campaign. Reciprocal Reading is a structured approach towards furthering pupils’ comprehension strategies, such as questioning, clarifying, summarising and predicting. NGRT will be used as a tool by which to measure the programme’s success.

GraphoGame Rime, Education Endowment Fund: NFER
2018, May
GraphoGame Rime is a computer game that builds on the evidence that developing phonological skills is an effective method of improving reading. It builds on particular research that teaching children to recognise ‘rime units’ in families of words (e.g. ‘c-at’, h-at’, ‘m-at’) is especially beneficial when learning to read. The intervention’s effectiveness was measured with NGRT. 

Peer Tutoring in Secondary Schools, Education Endowment Fund: NatCen
2015, July
NGRT was used to evaluate the efficacy of the Paired Reading Programme, a peer tutoring programme for secondary schools in which Year 9 pupils provide regular tutoring of Year 7 pupils. This tutoring consisted of pupils working together to choose the material to read and discuss, and the older pupil acting as a tutor, praising and supporting the reading and correction of errors in the younger tutee’s work.

Switch-On Reading
Education Endowment Foundation: 
Nottinghamshire County Council
Switch-on Reading is an intensive 10-week literacy intervention. It is delivered on a one to one basis by staff, most commonly teaching assistants, who have been trained in the approach. The purpose of Switch-on is to achieve functional literacy for as many pupils as possible, and so to close the reading achievement gap for vulnerable children working below age-expected levels. The students' reading was measured with NGRT.

Response to Intervention: A targeted programme of support for low achieving pupils
Education Endowment Foundation: CUREE and AfA3As
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a targeted programme that uses a tiered approach to identify the needs of low achieving pupils. The approach begins with whole class teaching (Tier 1), followed by small group tuition (Tier 2) for those who need more attention, and one to one tutoring (Tier 3) for those who do not respond to the small group instruction. Our Progress in English (PIE) and New Group Reading Test (NGRT) were used to measure the effectiveness of the intervention.

Rhythm for Reading: Rhythm-based exercises to improve literacy
Education Endowment Foundation: Adamsrill Primary School
Rhythm for Reading is a programme which aims to improve children’s reading ability by taking part in rhythm-based exercises such as stamping, clapping and chanting, while reading musical notation. The intervention builds on the evidence of a link between the natural rhythm and phrasing of prose and intuitive reading comprehension. Our New Group Reading Test (NGRT) was used to measure the impact of the intervention.

Chatterbooks: Testing the impact of two library-based approaches which encourage children to read for pleasure
Education Endowment Foundation: Coventry University and the Reading Agency
Chatterbooks is an extracurricular reading initiative that aims to increase a child’s motivation to read by providing schools with tools and resources to encourage reading for pleasure. The intervention developed for this trial consisted of nine weekly one hour sessions where the pupils read and discussed an age-appropriate book. The programme was delivered by trained graduates to Year 7 pupils who had not reached a secure Level 4 in English at the end of Key Stage 2. Our New Group Reading Test (NGRT) was used to evaluate the impact of the scheme on reading ability.

Summer Active Reading Programme: A programme which provides reading material, events and support over the summer holidays
Education Endowment Foundation: Book Trust
This purpose of the project was to enhance children’s enjoyment of books and encourage them to see reading as a pastime rather than a chore. The Book Trust provided children about to enter Year 7 with a personalised parcel of literacy materials over the summer holidays. In addition, the children received support and encouragement from adult volunteers, and attend two day-long events, which involved games, literacy activities, and small-group work. Our New Group Reading Test (NGRT) was one of the assessments used to measure the impact of the project.

TextNow Transition: Testing the impact of a volunteer-led one to one reading programme
Education Endowment Foundation: Unitas
TextNow was originally designed for young offenders and aims to help children enjoy reading and develop confidence and fluency. The programme is delivered by volunteer readers over 10-15 weeks of daily 20-minute sessions, with a focus on informal guidance and encouraging enjoyment. Our New Group Reading Test (NGRT) was used as a post-test primary outcome reading measure.

Vocabulary Enrichment Intervention
Education Endowment Foundation: Bolton Council

The Vocabulary Enrichment Full Programme combined three existing programmes – the Vocabulary Enrichment Intervention Programme (VEIP), Sounds-Write and Literacy Plus – and aimed to improve the reading abilities of pupils in Year 7. VEIP is a structured scheme that teaches children new words and encourages them to use these words in speaking and writing; Sounds-Write is a phonics programme; and Literacy Plus targets pupils at Key Stage 3 who are behind with their literacy skills and provides additional support to move them from Level 3 to Level 4 in English. NGRT was used to measure reading ability, sentence completion and passage comprehension.

Rapid Phonics
Education Endowment Foundation: Norfolk Council

Rapid Phonics is a synthetic phonics intervention intended to improve decoding skills and reading fluency. It teaches the relationship of word sounds to their corresponding letter groups in a structured way. In this evaluation, the intervention was delivered across the transition between primary and secondary school to Year 6/7 pupils who had not reached Level 4b in English at the end of Key Stage 2. In order to attain a balanced representation of reading ability between treatment and control groups, performances in three baseline measures - NGRT, Single Word Reading Test (SWRT) and Phonological Assessment Battery (PhAB) were used.

 

WellComm: A Speech and Language Toolkit for Screening and Intervention in the Early Years

Story Starters, The ESRC LuCiD Centre
Ongoing
After having been approached by Beanstalk and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, LuCiD developed a joint book reading intervention that would increase the language skills of disadvantaged 3- and 4-year olds. WellComm will be used as a way of measuring the success of this intervention.

 

British Picture Vocabulary Scale (BPVS3) 

Families Connect Study, Save the Children
Ongoing
Families Connect is an ongoing study conducted by Save the Children which focuses on supporting parents and children to learn together. It helps parents to support their children’s learning in three key areas: literacy and language development, numeracy and emotional development. The programme provides a series of activities, techniques and games that parents and carers can do with their children at home; Save the Children have included BPVS3 as part of this. 

URLEY (Using Research Tools to Improve Language in the Early Years), Education Endowment Fund: Behavioural Insights and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research
Ongoing
Nursery and reception teachers will be trained to use self-assessment tools called the Environment Rating Scales (ERS), highly regarded research tools that assess the quality of early year settings. These assessments thereby predict children’s development in early years by providing frameworks for improving language and social-behavioural skills. BPVS will be used to evaluate this intervention.

 

British Ability Scales (BAS3)

Improving Working Memory, Education Endowment Fund: Behavioural Insights, NIESR
Ongoing
The Working Memory programme will be delivered by teaching assistants, targeting children identified as performing in the bottom third of their numeracy class at the end of KS1. BAS3 will be used to measure the success of the programme. 

Improving Preschoolers’ Number Foundations, Kingston University London and UCL
2018, March
This report was sponsored by The Nuffield Foundation, and demonstrated that different types of mathematics games can be used to enhance symbolic and non-symbolic knowledge. BAS3 was one of the measures used within the study, which showed that children, particular those who are low achievers in mathematics ability, benefit from both symbolic and non-symbolic maths games.

 

Progress Test in English (PTE/PiE)

Integrating English, Education Endowment Fund: Sheffield Hallam University
Ongoing
Language in Learning Across the Curriculum (LILAC) is an accredited, intensive training course that trains non-specialist teachers how to teach a functional approach to grammar and linguistics. The aim is to change teachers’ classroom practice, thereby improving the academic English skills of EAL pupils. PTE will be used to assess the intervention’s effectiveness.

Grammar for Writing: A literacy intervention for Year 6 pupils
Education Endowment Foundation: University of Exeter
Grammar for Writing is a literacy intervention that aims to improve writing skills of Year 6 pupils by providing contextualised grammar teaching. It encourages pupils to improve how their writing communicates with the reader by making connections between a linguistic feature and the effect it has on writing, rather than by focusing on grammatical inaccuracies. Our Progress in English (PiE) assessment was used to measure the improvement in general writing ability.

Future Foundations Summer School: A four-week academic summer school for Year 5 and 6 pupils
Education Endowment Foundation: Future Foundations
The Future Foundations Society CIC (Future Foundations) summer school programme is a literacy and numeracy catch-up intervention which provided extra schooling in the summer holidays. Pupils attending the four-week programme followed a specially designed curriculum involving regular literacy and numeracy lessons taught by trained primary and secondary school teachers. Our Progress in English (PiE) and Progress in Maths (PiM) assessments were used to measure the impact of the programme.

Discover Summer School: A creative writing summer programme for children during the transition to secondary school
Education Endowment Foundation: Discover Children’s Story Centre
The Discover Summer School was a four-week programme which aimed to improve the reading and writing skills of children during the summer between Year 6 and Year 7. The programme was targeted at pupils who had been predicted to achieve below Level 4b in English by the end of Key Stage 2. Our Progress in English (PiE) was used to measure the impact of the programme.

Using Self-Regulation to Improve Writing: A programme which aims to improve pupils' writing by promoting self-regulation
Education Endowment Foundation: Calderdale Excellence Partnership
The project aimed to use memorable experiences and an approach called ‘Self-Regulated Strategy Development’ (SRSD) to help struggling writers in Years 6 and 7. SRSD provides a clear structure to help pupils plan, monitor and evaluate their writing. It aims to encourage pupils to take ownership of their work and can be used to teach most genres of writing, including narrative writing. Our Progress in English (PIE) assessment was used to evaluate progress.

Changing Mindsets
Education Endowment Foundation: Portsmouth University

The Changing Mindsets project sought to improve academic attainment by supporting pupils to develop a growth mindset: the belief that intelligence is not a fixed characteristic and can be increased through effort. Previous research (Good et al., 2003; Blackwell et al., 2007) has suggested that holding this belief enables pupils to work harder and achieve better results. PiE and Measuring Success in Maths (MSiM) were used to measure the attainment of year 5 pupils in English and maths.

Graduate Coaching Programme: Improving the reading and writing skills of Year 7 pupils in four secondary schools
Education Endowment Foundation: Perry Beeches Academy
Across the project, 16 coaches were employed to provide academic support to pupils who had not reached level 4c in English at the end of Key Stage 2. Originally it had been intended that pupils would only receive one to one support, and that all coaches would be graduates. However, in practice pupils received a range of targeted support that varied between schools and most, but not all, coaches were graduates. The pupils’ abilities in reading, spelling and grammar was measured with PiE Short Form test.

Improving Numeracy and Literacy in Key Stage 1
Education Endowment Foundation: University of Oxford
Aiming to improve the numeracy and literacy abilities of pupils in Year 2 through two separate programmes of teacher training and accompanying teaching materials and computer games. The Mathematics and Reasoning programme aimed to develop children’s understanding of the logical principles underlying mathematics, and the Literacy and Morphemes programme aimed to improve spelling and reading comprehension by teaching children about sentence structure and morphemes. The primary outcomes were test scores on the Progress in English (PiE) 7 (short form) test for the literacy intervention and Progress in Maths (PiM) 7 test for the numeracy intervention.

 

Progress Test in Maths (PTM) / Progress Test in English (PTE)

Best Practice in Grouping Students, Education Endowment Fund: NFER
Ongoing
This trial will focus on teaching within English and Maths in Years 7 and 8, and will use PTM and PTE to measure an intervention that trains schools in a best practice approach to setting. The aim is to assist schools in addressing poor practice when grouping students by ability. A pilot study will also introduce mixed ability teaching to secondary schools.

 

Progress Test in Maths (PTM/PiM)

Catch Up Numeracy, Education Endowment Fund: University of Nottingham
Ongoing
The second effectiveness trial of Catch Up Numeracy uses PTM to test the intervention’s efficacy. Catch Up Numeracy is a one-to-one intervention for primary school children who are struggling with numeracy, delivered by Teaching Assistants for up to 30 weeks. 

Mathematical Reasoning, Education Endowment Fund: NIESR
Ongoing
PTM is being used to evaluate the second trial of the Mathematics and Reasoning Programme, which develops children’s understanding of the logical principles that underlie mathematics. The evaluation report will be published in Summer 2018. 

Fit to Study, Education Endowment Fund: NatCen
Ongoing
Physical exercise can influence brain function and structure, immediately and in the long-term. This project will test the effects of a teacher training intervention designed to optimise Physical Education for brain and cognitive function for Year 8 pupils. PTM will be used as a measure of the outcome on numeracy of the students involved in the trial.

Future Foundations Summer School: A four-week academic summer school for Year 5 and 6 pupils
Education Endowment Foundation: Future Foundations
The Future Foundations Society CIC (Future Foundations) summer school programme is a literacy and numeracy catch-up intervention which provided extra schooling in the summer holidays. Pupils attending the four-week programme followed a specially designed curriculum involving regular literacy and numeracy lessons taught by trained primary and secondary school teachers. Our Progress in English (PiE) and Progress in Maths (PiM) assessments were used to measure the impact of the programme.

Affordable Individual and Small Group Tuition: Primary
Education Endowment Foundation: The Tutor Trust
The Tutor Trust is a Manchester-based charity that aims to provide affordable small group and one to one tuition to schools. The Trust recruits university students and recent graduates, which enables it to provide tuition at a competitive rate. It predominantly aims to support schools in challenging communities and pupils who are looked-after or eligible for free school meals. Schools were measured when using PiE and PiM.

Improving Numeracy and Literacy in Key Stage 1
Education Endowment Foundation: University of Oxford
Aiming to improve the numeracy and literacy abilities of pupils in Year 2 through two separate programmes of teacher training and accompanying teaching materials and computer games. The Mathematics and Reasoning programme aimed to develop children’s understanding of the logical principles underlying mathematics, and the Literacy and Morphemes programme aimed to improve spelling and reading comprehension by teaching children about sentence structure and morphemes. The primary outcomes were test scores on the Progress in English (PiE) 7 (short form) test for the literacy intervention and Progress in Maths (PiM) 7 test for the numeracy intervention.

 

Progress Test in Maths (PTM) / Progress Test in Science (PTS)

Learning Counterintuitive Concepts, Education Endowment Fund: NFER
Ongoing
The Centre for Educational Neuroscience will develop a computer game that trains students in ‘interference control’. This refers to the need to synthesise new knowledge that may contradict previously learned content, without that previous content inhibiting this new learning. Both PTM and PTS will be used to evaluate this trial.

 

Progress Test in Science

CREST, Education Endowment Fund: NatCen
Ongoing
The CREST Awards programme has been running in schools for 30 years, and enables students to run their own research projects, thereby building transferrable skills for further education and employment, and giving them a taste of ‘real-world’ science. This project will test its impact on Year 9 pupils. 

Sci-napse, Education Endowment Fund: York Trials Unit
Ongoing
Studies have shown that there is increased engagement and receptivity to learning when there is uncertain reward. Using a game-based approach, students will answer questions where points are awarded for correct answers, but teams can choose whether to keep their points or to risk doubling or losing them based on the chance spin of a wheel (‘uncertain reward’), against conventional teaching methods and questions with fixed rewards.

 

Pupil Attitudes to Self and School (PASS)

Angharad Webb, J. (2013) How Parental Deployment Affects Service Children's Attitudes Towards the Educational Experience: An Empirical Investigation at a Predominantly Military Junior School Master of Education dissertation, University of Bristol
2013, September
This dissertation used our Pupil Attitudes to Self and School (PASS) psychometric measure to highlight the attitudes of service children towards education, attainment and learning, compared to their civilian peers. Results suggested that the age and gender of the child impacted on attitude towards the educational experience, and that service children's attitude overall was affected by parental deployment. Please contact us if you would like a copy of the paper.