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The Literacy Hour

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Author Info

  • Machin, Stephen

    ()
    (University College London)

  • McNally, Sandra

    ()
    (London School of Economics)

Abstract

In this paper, we evaluate the effect of the literacy hour in English primary schools on pupil attainment. The National Literacy Project (NLP) was undertaken in about 400 English primary schools in 1997 and 1998. We compare the reading and overall English attainment of children in NLP schools as compared to a set of control schools at the end of primary school education (age 11). We also compare the overall English performance of these children when they have reached the end of their compulsory education (age 16). We find a larger increase in attainment in reading and English for pupils in NLP schools as compared to pupils not exposed to the literacy hour between 1996 and 1998. We also find modest, but positive. effects from exposure to the literacy hour that persist to age 16, as GCSE English performance is seen to be higher for children affected by the NLP introduction. Since there are gender gaps in English performance (in favour of girls), we consider whether the literacy hour has had a differential impact by gender. We find some evidence that at age 11, boys received a greater benefit than girls. Finally, we show the policy to be cost effective. These findings are of strong significance when placed into the wider education debate about what works best in schools for improving pupil performance. The evidence reported here suggests that public policy aimed at changing the content and structure of teaching can significantly raise pupil attainment

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1005.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Public Economics, 2008, 92 (5-6), 1441-1462
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1005

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Keywords: literacy hour; reading; English;

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References

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  1. Stephen Machin & Sandra McNally, 2005. "Gender and Student Achievement in English Schools," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 357-372, Autumn.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit & Cole, Shawn & Duflo, Esther & Linden, Leigh, 2006. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," CEPR Discussion Papers 5446, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Working Papers 645, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Paul Glewwe & Michael Kremer & Sylvie Moulin & Eric Zitzewitz, 2004. "Retrospective vs. prospective analyses of school inputs: The case of flip charts in kenya," Natural Field Experiments 00256, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Angrist, Joshua D & Lavy, Victor, 2001. "Does Teacher Training Affect Pupil Learning? Evidence from Matched Comparisons in Jerusalem Public Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 343-69, April.
  6. Christian Dustmann & Bernd Fitzenberger & Steve Machin, 2007. "The economics of education and training," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 255-260, May.
  7. Alan Krueger & Diane Whitmore, 2000. "The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project STAR," NBER Working Papers 7656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  9. Lorraine Dearden & Carl Emmerson & Christine Frayne & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Education subsidies and school drop-out rates," IFS Working Papers W05/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  11. Angrist, Joshua & Lavy, Victor, 2001. "New Evidence on Classroom Computers and Pupil Learning," IZA Discussion Papers 362, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  13. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1998. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 6691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Blundell, Richard William & Costa Dias, Monica & Meghir, Costas & Van Reenen, John, 2003. "Evaluating the Employment Impact of a Mandatory Job Search Programme," CEPR Discussion Papers 3786, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
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