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  • Research Report DFE-RR128

    Iram Siraj-Blatchford Aziza Mayo Edward Melhuish Brenda Taggart Pam Sammons Kathy Sylva

    Performing against the odds: developmental trajectories of children in the EPPSE 3-16 study

  • This research report was commissioned before the new UK Government took office on 11 May 2010. As a result the content may not reflect current Government policy and may make reference to the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) which has

    now been replaced by the Department for Education (DFE).

    The views expressed in this report are the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department for Education.

  • THE EPPSE RESEARCH TEAM

    Principal Investigators

    Professor Kathy Sylva Department of Educational Studies, University of Oxford 00 44 (0)1865 274 008 / email kathy.sylva@education.ox.ac.uk

    Professor Edward Melhuish Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues Birkbeck University of London 00 44 (0)207 079 0834 / email e.melhuish@bbk.ac.uk

    Professor Pam Sammons Department of Educational Studies, University of Oxford 00 44 (0)1865 274 142 / email pamela.sammons@education.ox.ac.uk

    Professor Iram Siraj-Blatchford Institute of Education, University of London 00 44 (0)207 612 6218 / email i.siraj-blatchford@ioe.ac.uk

    *Brenda Taggart Institute of Education, University of London 00 44 (0)207 612 6219 / email b.taggart@ioe.ac.uk

    Research Officers

    Dr Aziza Mayo Institute of Education, University of London 00 44 (0)207 331 5110 / email a.mayo@ioe.ac.uk

    Dr Katalin Toth Institute of Education, University of London 00 44 (0)207 911 5587 / email k.toth@ioe.ac.uk

    Diana Draghici Institute of Education, University of London 00 44 (0)207 612 6608 / email d.draghici@ioe.ac.uk

    Tracking Officer

    Wesley Welcomme Institute of Education, University of London 00 44 (0)207 612 6684 / email w.welcomme@ioe.ac.uk

    *Also Research Co-ordinator

    mailto:kathy.sylva@education.ox.ac.ukmailto:e.melhuish@bbk.ac.ukmailto:pamela.sammons@education.ox.ac.ukmailto:i.siraj-blatchford@ioe.ac.ukmailto:b.taggart@ioe.ac.ukmailto:a.mayo@ioe.ac.ukmailto:k.toth@ioe.ac.ukmailto:d.draghici@ioe.ac.ukmailto:w.welcomme@ioe.ac.uk

  • AUTHORS

    Iram Siraj-Blatchford

    Aziza Mayo

    Edward Melhuish

    Brenda Taggart

    Pam Sammons

    Kathy Sylva

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

    The EPPE project is a major longitudinal study funded by the Department for Education. The research would not be possible without the support and co-operation of the six Local Authorities (LAs) and the many pre-school centres, primary schools, children and parents participating in the research. We would like to give special thanks to the children, parents and teachers who met with us to discuss their experiences and thoughts on school and learning. Their welcoming enthusiasm to meet with us face to face and their ongoing loyalty to EPPSE were heart warming and extremely valuable. We are particularly grateful for the support and guidance we have had from Professor John Siraj-Blatchford in the early stages of this study and for the training and expertise he provided in the NVivo software. We would also like to thank Kit Endean and Rachel Whitehead for their diligent transcribing and Wesley Welcomme for his contribution in preparing this report.

    The views expressed in this report are the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department for Education.

    JUNE 2011 Siraj-Blatchford, Melhuish, Taggart, Sammons & Sylva

  • Contents Page No.

    Executive summary ..............................................................................................................i

    Section 1: The Child and Family Case Studies..................................................................1 1.1 Background to the Child and Family Case Studies 1 1.2 Aim of the Child and Family Case Studies 1 1.3 The research questions 2 1.4 Theoretical background of the Child and Family Case Studies 2

    1.4.1 A theoretical model for childrens development ....................................................2 1.4.2 Proximal processes in microsystems ...................................................................3 1.4.3 How families shape childrens proximal processes ..............................................4

    1.5 Implications for the Children and Family Case Studies (CFCS) 5

    Section 2: Methods..............................................................................................................6 2.1 The sample 6

    2.1.1 Sampling procedure.............................................................................................7 2.1.2 Recruitment procedure ........................................................................................7

    2.2 Instruments 8 2.3 Data procedures 11 2.4 Ethical considerations 13

    Section 3: Childrens developmental trajectories for English and Maths......................14 3.1 Literacy/English trajectories 15 3.2 Numeracy/Maths trajectories 16 3.3 Individual trajectories 16

    Section 4: Views on academic success ..........................................................................19 4.1 Perceptions of reasons for academic achievement 19 4.2 Perceived mechanisms for academic achievement 20 4.3 Protective and Risk factors related to the child 21 4.4 Protective and Risk factors related to the home environment 23 4.5 Protective and Risk factors related to the school environment 25 4.6 Relationships with peers and friendships as Protective or Risk factors 29 4.7 Relationships external to home and school as Protective factors 31

    Section 5: Why do some at-risk' children succeed against the odds' while others fallfurther behind? ................................................................................................33

    5.1 What characterizes children who succeed against the odds? 33 5.1.1 Perceived cognitive ability..................................................................................33 5.1.2 Positive child behaviours and attitudes ..............................................................34

    5.2 Characteristics of academically effective low SES homes 37 5.2.1 Effective early years Home Learning Environments (HLEs) in low SES families 38 5.2.2 Factors influencing the early years Home Learning Environment.......................40 5.2.3 The Home Learning Environment (HLE) during the primary years .....................45 5.2.4 Effective Home Learning Environments (HLEs) in low SES families during

    primary years .....................................................................................................45 5.2.5 The Home Learning Environment during the secondary years...........................47 5.2.6 Effective Home Learning Environments during secondary years in low SES

    families ..............................................................................................................47 5.2.7 Family involvement with school and learning .....................................................49 5.2.8 Effective involvement with school and learning in low SES families ...................49 5.2.9 What characterizes low SES parents of children succeeding against the odds?..

    .....................................................................................................................51 5.3 The pre-school environment 56

    5.3.1 Effective pre-school settings ..............................................................................56

  • 5.3.2 Reasons for pre-school attendance ...................................................................57 5.3.3 The importance of pre-schools and the early years HLE for later attainment......59

    5.4 School and classroom microsystems 59 5.4.1 Primary school academic effectiveness .............................................................60 5.4.2 School level factors............................................................................................60 5.4.3 Classroom level factors......................................................................................61 5.4.4 Peer relationships ..............................................................................................63

    5.5 The community context 65 5.5.1 Extra-curricular activities facilitated or stimulated by low SES families ...............65 5.5.2 Additional support networks ...............................................................................67

    Section 6: Conclusions .....................................................................................................69 6.1 Final remarks 71

    References .........................................................................................................................73 Appendix 1: Example of a personalised student interview....................................................82 Appendix 2: Example of a personalised parent interview .....................................................86 Appendix 3: Example of personalised teacher interview.......................................................89 Appendix 4: Example of a CFCS retrograph based on longitudinal EPPSE data..................90 Appendix 5: Individual trajectory patterns for CFCS children................................................91 Appendix 6: Family demographics during pre-school years, primary years and secondary

    years..................................................................................................................97 Appendix 7: Child demographics during pre-school years..................................................100 Appendix 8: Overview of early years home learning environment (HLE), birth term, pre

    school quality and primary school academic effectivenes

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